I was born in Florida but the only home I have ever known was Springfield, Massachusetts. All my life I swore I would grow up to own a dance studio and that would be my lifelong career, teaching kids how to dance. It wasn't until my junior year when I decided to go to college and study criminal justice and then follow it up with law school. My family and friends were all surprised. This is what I told them.

"Take a drive through our neighborhood and what do you see? You see gang signs written across building and billboards. You see children of no more than five years old walking the streets alone and you hear about another shooting every other day, sometimes more than once in a day. The people with means to help those who need it are either ignorant when it comes to the problems our communities are faced with and blind to the critical decline in our youth's safety or they simply don't care. I care."

I have witnessed it all first hand. People have tried to sell me drugs in the middle of the school day as I inch my way through the lunch line. Grown men have asked me if they could take me home, and I was clearly a minor at the time. In 6th grade, my computer science teacher was a registered sex offender. On my way home from dance one night, a man rear ended my car and then drove off. I've woken up to the screams of women down the street from my house at 2:00am and then heard nothing of it on the news the following morning. I've even had knives pulled on me. My city, my home, I should say, has hit rock bottom.

"Springfield is too far gone," I've heard people say time and time again. "I can't wait to get out." What about giving back? What about helping those who didn't have the opportunities that I had? That's where my career will take me. I will bring solidarity to the communities that have been deemed unrepairable. I will help those who have no food to put on their table and I will help those who always throw away leftovers. I will not discriminate. Nobody has a perfect life and that is because no human being is perfect. Since no human being is perfect, no community can be perfect. However, the first step to building a functioning and stable community is to unify those who are a part of it.

All it takes is an ember to start a fire and if I have to be that ember, I will be.

This is why I chose law. My city needs my help.