The Power of Advocacy

By Magali Rocha, Fellow Class of 2016
Metropolitan State University

The most significant lesson my parents instilled in me, was the value in helping others and receiving help. In less than a month, I will be receiving an Associates of Arts in English. I will then be attending Metropolitan State University of Denver in the Fall to earn my Bachelor’s degree with Philosophy as a major. At the age of 5, I was already translating English for my Spanish-speaking parents; hence, I’ve had to advocate for myself from a relatively young age. As the first in my family to graduate high school, the first to step on a college campus, and the first to sit in a college classroom, I aim towards not being the last one in my family to do so. 

Summer of 2018 completely changed my life. One reason is that my family and I decide to adopt my twelve-year-old cousin William. Not only am I excited to further pursue my career path, but I am eager to set up the path of education for him and my brother. The second reason is that I had the opportunity to intern alongside one of my mentors, John Silva, at the District Attorney’s Office of Denver. I had always known about the lack of Latino lawyers, but it wasn’t until I sat in during many court hearings that I realized how high the demand was. One of the highlights of this experience was meeting the first female to hold the office as District Attorney of Denver, Beth McCann. I also attended a meeting with the Immigration Denver District Attorney’s community advisory council, where I met numerous attorneys from different law firms, clinics, organizations, and networks. Undeniably, this internship opened doors for me and piqued my interest in immigration law. 

After mentioning my interest of immigration law to my mentors, Mary McClatchey and her husband Steve introduced to one of their close friends, Dan Kowalski, who is rated one of the top immigration lawyers in the country. Over a delicious dinner and inspiring conversation, Dan offered me an internship at his law firm Ware Immigration this summer. Both Melissa Romero and Mary have been the best mentors one can have. They have taken the time out of their busy lives to advocate for me; from editing my cover letters and giving me suggestions about the future. They have shared their personal and professional experiences with me and that’s more than I could ever ask for. I have learned that there is nothing wrong with asking for help.