tragedy/victory

This morning I woke up to my neighbors yelling. The dad roaring about “stupid mother fucker this” and “ill slap the shit out of you that”. Then I went to work, where I mentor underprivileged high school students. My tutors shared their stories about overcoming adversities on their journey to Cal.

AnaVictoria’s voice shakes as she retells countless nights of domestic and sexual abuse within her family. Her eyes begin to water, the last time she saw her dad was when she was 10 and he was arrested for beating her mom. Ana is young, latina and beautiful. Her name is a combination of God’s Grace and Victory. In spite her tragedies she still wears hope on her sleeve.

Wendy talks about growing up in East LA. How her family was so poor and mom so cracked out that they had to sleep on the floor of her dad’s mechanic shop. The shop eventually found out and he was fired, leaving Wendy and her family homeless. Her dad started trafficking drugs to pay rent, but was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in jail. In and out of relatives homes Wendy always felt like a burden. She struggled with suicide at 15 and says that being at Cal changed her, that she’s never felt more a part of something in her life.

I’m just sitting in the back of the room listening to their stories. Watching the students take it all in, many of whom live similar stories.

I’m just taking it all in.

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