We are pleased to announce that Ivette Chow, a graduate from the University of San Francisco, is the winner of the 2018 ChapmanAlbin Law School Scholarship Essay Contest. Ms. Chow’s essay was selected from over 300 entries. She will be awarded $1,000 to be used towards tuition and/or expenses at the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco.
The lawyers of ChapmanAlbin all came to their law careers from different backgrounds and interests. This year, scholarship applicants were asked to write an essay about what specific turning point in their past led them to pursue a law profession.
Read Ivette’s winning essay below.
March 10, 2008. Typing the date immediately triggers feelings of intense grief, anger and helplessness. When I recall this date, sadness grips me and I feel as that 12-year-old little girl again, desperately wishing her uncle was still here trying to braid her hair before tucking her into bed. Ten years have passed since ICE deported my uncle on his way to drop me off at school. Memories of the way he stared at me, smiling forlornly and reaching out to hug me, as the officers approached the car after my uncle pulled over, replay in my head. I remember clutching my uncle by the waist, crying frantically, while an immigration officer shouted at me to move so he could handcuff my uncle. The last memory I have of my uncle consists of his tearful gaze as he glanced back at me as an ICE agent pushed him into a van. That night, I cried myself to sleep, trying to comprehend my uncle would not be there the following day.
Following my uncle’s deportation, I blamed myself after convincing myself he would not have been deported if he had not driven me to school. Now, ten years later, I am fully aware of the hostile partisan rancor confined in America’s immigration debate. More importantly, I personally understand the high price of a broken system. In 2007, my uncle was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint. However, he avoided filing a police report fearing deportation and consequently, was unable to pursue a U-Visa. If he had known his rights and how to seek legal representation, he would probably have permanent residency today. My uncle’s deportation showed me how a lack of knowledge of what rights we have can lead to unjust situations. Thus, I realized educating the members of my community would reduce their vulnerability to structural racism; therefore, I strive to help disadvantaged communities understand and exercise their rights to obtain fair treatment under the law. As an attorney, I will represent those whose voices have been silenced and bring forth the experiences of those lacking a platform to denounce injustices.
My decision to pursue a law degree was emphasized in 2014 when I marched through the streets of San Francisco supporting the unaccompanied minors and protesting the Obama administration’s “Rocket Docket.” Unaccompanied minors were seeking a safe haven in the United States, but instead of being helped they were being detained and deported back from where they were fleeing from. The Rocket Docket expedited all cases involving unaccompanied minors, leaving them extremely subjectable to deportation since they wouldn’t have ample time to seek legal counsel, let alone the sufficient funds to afford it. The government cruelly turned its back on children, in direct violation of their due process rights and, as a result, made a mockery of due process. Unquestionably, a law profession is my calling after realizing advocacy is not merely about solidarity, but having the passion and drive to speak up for others and fight for their rights.
The investor rights attorneys at Chapman Albin, LLC congratulates Ms. Chow and all who participated in this year’s Essay Contest. If you are a current or incoming law student, be on the look-out for our next scholarship opportunity in Spring 2019.
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