Featured Lawtina: Teresa Flores
We love reading and sharing stories like these! So inspiring and empowering! Thank you, Teresa!
“My name is Teresa Flores. I am a third year law student at Saint Louis University School of Law.
I grew up in the north side of Chicago, Illinois. When I was younger my parents moved back and forth from Chicago to Michoacan, Mexico. My desire to come to law school was mainly driven by my desire to help immigrant communities and my family history.
I have always felt a sort of privilege because of my citizenship and my ability to speak Spanish and English. Being bilingual, regardless what the other language is, is one of the most powerful tools any person can possess. It has always been hard knowing that there were certain things that I could do and that friends and family members could never experience. Before coming to law school I worked as a paralegal for an immigration attorney and also volunteered as a child advocate for unaccompanied minors. My parents are both immigrants. My mother was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when she was about 6 years old. My father was born in Mexico and came to the United States when he was 18 years old. My mother was able come to the U.S. via a visa that she obtained through a family petition. My father was able to get residency in the 1980s through the amnesty that was passed. I never had to worry about my parents having problems with immigration, but I knew that that was not the case for all my friends.
Applying to law school was not easy especially since I did not know anyone who had done it at the time. Luckily for me one of my good friends was thinking of applying also and he helped me figure out what materials I needed. He specifically introduced me to CLEO scholars, which I would recommend to anyone. Coming to law school has been one of the best and most challenging parts of my life. It is hard being in a space where there are not a lot of other people that look like me. Nevertheless, it makes me truly appreciate it more when I meet other fierce Latinx lawyers. Law school has taught me to step outside of my comfort zone and try things I would otherwise have never tried. The summer after my first year I decided to take an internship working at a nonprofit immigration organization in rural Washington. It was a big change from the city life that I knew, but ultimately made me aware of some of the immigration issues that exist throughout different parts of the nation. This past summer I had the pleasure of working at a nonprofit immigration organization in Arizona. I worked directly with clients that were detained. It made me realize the different aspects of immigration. More importantly, it reminded me of the things that people leave behind to give their families a better life. I know that my parents and family have sacrificed a lot for me.
My father is the only one of his siblings that is in the U.S. and I continuously find myself missing my family. When I was younger my abuelita always told me "educate mija y siguele echando ganas a tus estudios porque eso es algo que nadie te puede quitar." I have taken those words with me throughout my entire education and when things get rough I remember of how much my abuelita and my parents gave up in order for me to have this life. Ultimately, I want to be an immigration attorney so that I can give back to the community that has given me everything.
I graduate this upcoming May 2020 and in September 2020 I will embark on a new life journey working with a nonprofit immigration organization in Arizona. The best advice I can ever give anyone that is going down the same path is to continue to push forward no matter what and always stay true and grounded to the places, people and things that have taken you down this journey.”