The Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein are pleased to announce that we have chosen Zulma Munoz as the 2015 winner of our Boston Immigration Law Scholarship! We were overwhelmed by the excellent applications we received for the scholarship, all of which evoked the struggles and challenges of the immigrant experience. Over 150 deserving students applied!
Ms. Munoz is the child of Mexican immigrants and was born in Oakland, California. She graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 2012 with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. She will be attending University of San Francisco School of Law in the fall of 2015.
Our office recognizes that the U.S. immigration process is stressful for families and can have traumatic outcomes that can impact a child’s potential to seek an education and succeed in the United States. As an office that specializes in family-based immigration and deportation defense, we’re dedicated to helping hard-working and ambitious immigrants and children of immigrants attain their goals for higher education. We are so happy to help Ms. Munoz achieve her dreams of attending law school and we know she will accomplish big things in her future!
Zulma Munoz’s Winning Essay
At an early age, I learned that education was a ticket out of poverty. When my mother was seventeen, she and my father carried my brother across the border to the United States. I was born three years later in Oakland, California. At age two, my father died in a car accident. When I was seven, my mother married a wonderful man and I was delighted to have a new father.
I remember dreading adulthood because I believed it meant washing dishes for endless hours. For twenty-five years, my father cleaned dishes as a utility worker. Since my parents worked long hours, my mother desired to keep my brother and I away from the streets so she had us join a soccer team. I soon realized that my teammates’ parents did not have jobs my parents did. I also discovered something that I had never seen in my house: university diplomas.
Being a part of a team exposed me to the first injustice that would shape my desire to become an advocate. I realized that low-income immigrant parents often suffered from unjust work situations. The second injustice emerged in school with my older brother. My teachers assured me that I could become a doctor, dentist, or lawyer, while my brother faced criticism from his teachers. I was forced to comprehend why someone would be treated and live differently just because of where they were born.
When I was a freshman at UC Berkeley, officials arrested my brother for marking the streets with graffiti. Within a week, the case was transferred to Immigration Court and my brother’s deportation followed closely thereafter. The next few months and years of my life were dominated by court proceedings, translating for my parents at attorney consultations, and supporting the emotional well being of my mother and 11-year-old brother.
In many ways, I am privileged that my life’s circumstances taught me about the immigration, education, and labor systems in American because it motivated me to start my career early. My brother’s case catapulted my knowledge and frustration with the legal system, so I decided to pursue a career through which I could influence the outcomes of individuals with similar stories. Whether I was organizing students to journey to Washington DC to lobby for immigration reform or providing immigration relief to youth without legal citizenship, my mission was clear.
After my brother’s deportation, I was determined to ensure other families did not suffer as my family did. Consequently, I dedicated myself to direct-service work and now have a strong working knowledge of immigration remedies, education reform, and about the systemic challenges underserved communities face that I bring with me to the law school. I am committed to attaining my law degree in order to continue giving back to the communities, schools and families from which I come. My journey demands that I engage in work I can believe in and becoming a lawyer will strengthen my ability to do so.