BLOG | Dustin Martinez
Finding Passion, Finding Purpose
July 2, 2019
When I set out from my hometown of Pueblo, Colorado, saying goodbye to family and old friends I had known for all my life, I vowed that with the knowledge I would obtain that I would help the world to become a better place. I was set on being a lawyer. I was willing to do anything to pursue this burning passion in my soul to find the knowledge and desire to help others. I knew it, and my mother must have known it too because before she left she gave me just a little piece of advice. “Keep your head up” she told me as I hugged her one last time. At the time I did not know what she meant by that, I’m not even sure she knew, but I took it to heart nonetheless.
I didn’t get any scholarships for my schooling, so I knew that I was going have to pay for college some other way. So when I graduated high school I decided that I would move in with my Aunt, and work over the summer so when school rolled around, I had some money and an established job to support myself a little through college. My Aunt was also nice enough to let me live with her when school actually started, that way I could cut down on the cost of living on the dorms. This plan seemed like a good idea on paper, but there were a few things I didn’t account for. One being loneliness. But I remembered, I needed to keep my head up. Nothing was going to get in my way.
LYWC (Law School Yes We Can) started at the very end of the summer, and by that time I had gotten to know a lot of my coworkers at my place of work, however I failed to make any deep connection with them. At opening ceremony for LSYWC, I got to meet my mentors for the first time. My mentors Jess and John were there and I immediately grew fond of them(I met my other mentor, Justice Hood, a month later at a Waffle House. A little bit unreal since 1. You’re meeting a Justice and 2. You’re meeting a Justice over Waffles. Classes started shortly after opening ceremony, and every month after that I would have my monthly meetings with my mentors, and I learned quite a bit about each of them (of which none I’ll tell here) and quite a lot more about the law. It sparked my interest. This was stuff that I had never heard before but of which I was vastly interested in hearing.
It was a bit harder for me to make any connections at school, as I lived far away from campus, just far enough away that people who would otherwise be my friend would shy away from hanging out with me. I was either working or back home, away from campus. It wasn’t the best feeling in the world. Even when I moved into the dorms my second semester, (the oh so coveted “dorm life” I was supposedly missing my first semester) the people in the dorms had already established social groups that had no interest in reach out to me and welcoming me in. Even the RA (Resident Assistant), who was supposed to give me the rundown of dorm life and make me feel welcomed, did nothing but say hello and try to talk to me at inappropriate times in the bathroom. But I had to remember, I had to keep my head up.
At this point in time I was honestly doubting myself. I had forgotten my mission and why I had left Pueblo. But I continued to keep my head up without understanding why I did it.
Near this time we had a workshop for LSYWC, a kind of speed dating where they bring in lawyers and we ask them questions. How it’s supposed to go is that they stand around the room, and we pick a lawyer, take five minutes to know them and ask about their professions, and then move on to the next. But nothing ever goes as planned when I’m around, much less in a room of lawyers who seemed to have hijacked the entire workshop we were in. That’s when they all decide that they were going to have a panel instead, and we all can ask them questions while each one talks about their experiences.
While they were talking, each one of their stories struck a chord with me. They weren’t doing this for the money, each one of them had some sort of burning desire to help others and so decided that law was the way to do that. It wasn’t even so much so about what circumstances that they were in, they all wanted to be someone who could help and so decided to do so. This experience left a profound impact on me and helped me realized that this is what I really wanted to do. That’s when I understood keeping your head up.
I needed to keep my head up, not just for myself, but for everyone else as well, because even though I’m only one person, I represent the hope and dreams of many other people. The first year of my schooling has been a ride of emotions and had its ups and downs, and was rather lonely. But I met new people through LSYWC that inspire and help me be the person I desire to be. I think that’s priceless to have. I’m looking forward to what the future might hold.
“Sí, Se Puede” is a phrase born of farmworkers, who, under the leadership of the UFW, César Chávez, and Dolores Huerta, fought valiantly for equal protection under the law. As a result of the efforts of the UFW, “Sí, Se Puede” has become well known as a call that engenders hope and inspiration in those who face similar battles. We thank the UFW, whom we acknowledge to be the sole and exclusive owner of the Trademark SI SE PUEDE, for granting us a limited license to use“Sí, Se Puede” in connection with our efforts to recruit, in Colorado, students of Hispanic or Latino descent for our law school pipeline program. For more information about the programs offered by the UFW, please see UFW’s webpage (www.ufw.org); UFW Foundation’s webpage (www.ufwfoundation.org); and UFWF’s immigration services webpage (www.sisepuede.org)