New York — Growing up in a predominantly black, low-income neighborhood, I witnessed how society fails communities like mine.
The public elementary school in my neighborhood was underfunded and overcrowded. That environment wasn’t helping me achieve what I was capable of. If it wasn’t for the opportunity to attend a private school and the support I found at the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, I wouldn’t have had the tools I needed to grow academically.
While I had the privilege of a private-school education for most of my life, I was the only kid from my neighborhood to have that privilege. Barriers such as cost of tuition, academic rigor and the amount of parent involvement needed often deter kids in my community. But this doesn’t mean it always has to be this way.
I’m ecstatic to be in my first year at Barnard College of Columbia University. After college, I plan to run for public office and use my career to fight against inequity. Youth deserve the tools to become pioneers of change in the world and it is my goal to ensure that happens.