Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Inspiration

By Jennifer Gomez

On a gloomy Saturday morning my father asked if I wanted to see my brother. I was eight years old and very close to my fourteen year old brother, Martin. Martin had disappeared from one day to the next. I had wondered what had happened to him and no one would answer when I asked. Instead of explaining to me that my brother had gone to juvenile hall, we arrived at an ugly building and proceeded to the waiting room. I sat alone. I felt scared as I noticed lots of policemen patrolling the mostly Brown and Black mothers and children in the waiting room. My father returned to tell me I was too small to visit Martin.

No one would ever explicitly tell me what happened but I figured it out. I wouldn't see Martin for weeks but was aware that he desperately wanted to come home but my father insisted he stay and learn his lesson. When he came home he was a different person.

As a recent immigrant family my parents worked long hours and were unable to provide the support and guidance they have shown me. At school Martin was perceived “as just another” misguided Latino kid. He was ignored by a school system that should have cared more and could have provided meaningful intervention.

The injustice of how Martin’s life was altered by mistakes that are not uncommon for boys to make, has motivated me to pursue a degree in criminal justice. I wonder if Martin had been surrounded by people who cared more, what his life would be now?

Jennifer Gomez is a senior at Gardena High School. In the fall of 2014 Jennifer will become the first in her family to go to college.

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