By Cindy Gerges • March 29, 2017•Careers, Nonprofits and the Public Interest
"Ms. JD is focused this year on how we can all be Stronger Together. What does being Stronger Together mean to you in the public interest context? What does it mean for your public interest pursuits?"
In a speech, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton explained that, “[w]e are stronger together, in facing our internal challenges and our external ones.” For me, in the public interest context, this means breaking down barriers which prevent marginalized groups and minority communities from succeeding— pushing for criminal justice reform, ensuring that small businesses thrive, tackling homelessness, mental health, and domestic violence—while building communities that work for everyone regardless of their status.
Prior to law school, I worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA, (Volunteers in Service to America). As a VISTA, I worked alongside community members to advance local solutions through community projects and workshops. This led to the creation of various community partnerships, skill-based workshops, and beautification projects which were implemented throughout the community and aimed to empower members. During my time in AmeriCorps, I learned that in order to break socio-economic barriers that low-income communities face, it takes a village to create change and that together—with community leaders, students, nonprofits, and community members—we are stronger together.
In my public interest pursuit, stronger together means being a champion for marginalized communities and groups. As a minority, I hope to inspire a younger generation of young woman and provide them with tools to thrive in the legal field. This means creating programs aimed at encouraging underrepresented minorities to apply to law school. Currently, I participate on my law schools’ admissions Pathway to the Legal Profession Conference committee, which aims to bring young students from underserved communities to experience the possibilities and opportunities that come with the legal profession. The conference goals are to promote diversity and encourage students to pursue law school. Once graduating from law school, I plan to translate these efforts into the workplace by continuous outreach, creating opportunities for underrepresented students to get exposure into the legal field, and actively participating in mentoring.