By Valeria Ramirez
My name is Valeria, but almost everyone calls me Val. I am a proud Mexican-American, and I am not afraid to show the vibrant personality that my culture has raised me to be. I am loud when I speak my mind, so I know that people are listening to what I say. I am cautious and I choose my words carefully to make a statement. My mother has instilled in me values of strength, persistence, and courage to become a woman who is not afraid to speak up for those who can’t.
I grew up in Caldwell, Idaho, where I spent most of my life trying to find my voice and combating my social anxiety. What I love to dedicate my time to is creating murals and artwork that express my unusual perspective of the world around me. Every year, I go to Oregon with my family just to visit the vivid flowering of Oregon’s forests. I love how nature is unruly, and how easily you can get lost in its beauty. Traveling has always been important in my life, especially when I head to Mexico. Mexico has a culture that cannot be replicated. Hard work is the core value of its residents and strength is shown throughout the cities that I’ve been through. I was exposed to and embraced what my heritage has to offer, thanks to my parents, who always reminded me where I came from.
I am currently studying Political Science and English to achieve my dream of becoming an immigration lawyer. My reason for choosing immigration as my main area of specialty as a lawyer is because of my experience in certain situations around this topic. Many of my family members have been at risk of being deported, and are currently still facing the risk of being deported. I understand the hard work and sacrifice that each of my family members has been through in order to get into the United States. I want to apply this information and compassion to protect others in this situation, to allow illegal immigrants an equal opportunity for success. My father was the one who introduced me to politics and how easily it affects people’s lives. He would always bring his work home, and would bring migrant families over to our house. My father would help these families by organizing their taxes and other paperwork that they needed help with. Just by doing some simple paperwork, many of them were very grateful for the work that my dad did. That is something that I would like to accomplish—to give back to the community that gave me my culture and heritage. Also, I want to represent and fight for minorities when our voices are being drowned. The topics that I am most passionate about are civil rights, women’s rights, environmental issues, immigration, and even though I am no expert in LGBTQA issues, I will do whatever I can to be correct with my information and do my research.