Identity can be complicated. Maybe not for everyone, but it always has been for me. Family with different faiths and different histories. Friends who share some experiences, but are also confused by others.
It’s difficult to explain how it feels to have a deep connection to a community and be insecure about whether or not you are welcome. This insecurity meant I rarely took the step to get involved with organizations and activities that I was drawn to. My pull toward meaningful connection with community was blocked by my fears.
After 20 years of feeling this way, something changed a week into my time at law school. A friendly student was tabling for the La Raza Law Students Association. I asked a bunch of questions, indicating my insecurity, and he kept saying “just join.”
While I resisted for the remainder of my first year, I eventually gave in and became a member. The student who recruited me became my best friend and then my best man at my wedding. He even wiped away a tear before the ceremony (you know, because it was really bright outside).
My involvement with La Raza began slowly. Simply attending meetings was enough. However, as is so often the case with me, I became more and more involved. By the end of the year, the student leaders who I looked up to were encouraging me to run for president. My fear of rejection had been turned into the warmth of being embraced.
La Raza was where I found the Latino community I had longed for and where I found my law school family. It was also where I came to know San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association (SDLRLA).
The mission of SDLRLA is simple – advance the cause of equality, empowerment and justice for Latino attorneys and the Latino community in San Diego County through service and advocacy. SDRLA members are judges, elected officials, and attorneys improving the community and inspiring others to do the same.
On a personal level, SDLRLA and its leadership has been a source of friendship, mentorship, and inspiration since law school. I have received career advice, encouragement during tough times, and congratulations during moments of success. I cannot imagine my life in San Diego without La Raza.
That is why I am so proud to have earned the endorsement of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. It is a reminder of my journey in allowing my community to embrace me as I embrace it, – and that while my identity may be complicated and even challenging, it defines who I am and makes me better.