I am creating a go fund me to help me fundraise some money for tuition, housing, food, books and other expenses related to law school. I am reaching out to my community for support. If you can, please donate, $5, $10, $15, $20 any amount you can will be truly appreciate it. Here is my story:
My name is Katiuska Pimentel Vargas, I was born in La Victoria, one of the most dangerous cities in Lima, Peru. Poverty, violence and lack of opportunity shaped my childhood memories. My parents had to make the difficult decision of having me migrate by myself to reunite with my two older siblings. I migrated to the United States at the age of fourteen without my parents and a heart full of dreams and hopes.
Moving to the United State was not easy. I struggled adjusting to a new culture and language. I had to mature at a young age and suffered through many obstacles including having to work as a dishwasher, cleaning houses and babysitting. During high school, I struggled with homelessness after my family was evicted from our apartment complex, I thought about dropping out of school due to the financial limitations. I also suffered a terrible accident when I was run over by a car on my way to my community service at a local elder hospital. I moved to live with friends and managed to maintain good grades with the goal of attending college. During high school, I was selected to participate in a college access program called 10,000 Degrees which changed my life, they provided me with the tools to successfully apply to college. I had the tremendous opportunity to participate in the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project (CLYLP) spending two weeks in Sacramento and visiting the California Capitol. CLYLP inspired my passion to support my community and gave me the confidence to continue high school. During the summer, I completed the UCLA Dream Summer organizing to advocate for health insurance for undocumented people in California. I intern at the Alameda Health Consortium and develop a storytelling project to uplift the stories of the undocumented and insured community in California.
I dedicated my professional and academic career to uplift the rights of low-income communities of color. As a sophomore student, I completed a Community Outreach Associate at Immigrants Rising, an immigrants rights organization in San Francisco, California, conducting trainings to educators about educational access for undocumented students.
I continued to work uplifting communities of color and conducted a presentation at a National Educator Conference to discuss how to support undocumented students. I was also selected for the Engaged Latina Leadership Activist (ELLA) program organized by the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley to gain more leadership and civic engagement skills through uplifting the struggles of the latina community. During my junior year of high school, I coordinated a gang-prevention program to support low-income at-risk youth be able to access educational and mentorship opportunities.
As a college student, I completed a legislative internship at the United States Senate conducting research in immigration, education, youth homelessness and health care. I also received the University of California, Presidential Fellowship as a result of my public service to the community. As a student, I also work at the Ethnic Resource Center supporting students of color through retention programs. I volunteered at legal clinics where I became aware of the loopholes within the justice system allowing the oppression and criminalization of people of color. During my senior year, I worked at the Santa Cruz Public Defender’s office. This experience shocked and frustrated me as I realized there was a severe lack of legal resources available for poor, disabled, undocumented communities.
I received multiple acceptance letters to different universities but decided to attend University of California, Santa Cruz, with the goal of obtaining a B.A in Legal Studies and Politics. In 2017, I graduated University of California, Santa Cruz with University honors on both majors.
Throughout my life, I suffered multiple forms of marginalization. My life experiences provide me with wisdom and the motivation to know that I’m not doing this for myself, but for my whole community. Identities like mine are often underrepresented within the legal field. The need for culturally competent attorneys has led me to pursue law school. Representation is important in order to ensure we have attorneys who understand the complexity of being marginalized. The community I come from deserves to have someone who can represent their rights, speaks their language, and can be their advocate for justice. Our laws and legal system have denied people in my community the opportunity to live a safe and free life.
I have always dreamed to go to law school. As a community organizer, I been fighting against oppressive systems and believe getting a JD will allow me to continue this work with more tools to fight for justice. I was given the opportunity to get financial support this year to apply to law school, I honestly did not think I could get in or be able to go due to my undocumented and low income status. I got accepted into many law schools but they didn’t offer me enough money so I was considering to withdraw the offers. Last Wednesday, I received the news that I received the SF Bar Association Diversity scholarship to help me cover part of my law school tuition cost, I saw it as a sign from the universe that I should move forward with this plan. I had to make the extremely difficult decision to leave the movement to search for more tools and open the door for others to follow. I realized that my liberation is part of my healing, I must search for my own answers and paths to justice. I will be attending University of San Francisco Law school next fall.
This is not the end of my fight for justice but the beginning of a journey towards a self and collective transformation to achieve healing, justice and liberation.
PS: I would love to stay connected and hope to stay in touch during law school. I love mi comunidad ❤️
Please share with your networks <3 and donate if you are able to support my dream <3 If you cannot donate money $, you can support me in other ways sending love, healing and strength my way.
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