From time to time, we will be opening up our blog to guest authors to share their Pyles story. If you would like to contribute, please contact us! We'd love to hear from you!
I am a former child laborer from the US’ Garment Sweatshop Capitol, Los Angeles. I worked alongside immigrant laborers cutting loose threads off of garments. Many of these individuals were college educated in Mexico but were forced to work in improper work-spaces out of necessity. These childhood experiences gave me the lens I needed to understand and criticize the injustices committed to communities of color. During my k-12 education I transitioned from working in the garment industry to working maintenance. I worked at a blood bank and later on in Downtown LA. During one shift in particular, I worked a full 24 hour work day with only one half hour break. The experience was daunting but it birthed a passion within me.
Unfortunately, the environment I was forced to grow in was not a nurturing one. My community lacked resources, such as a library. My school lacked proper after school programs and as a result gang activity was prominent. My parents worked long hours, and for a while my mother was hospitalized and almost lost her life. R.M. Pyles Boys Camp provided me with more than just a camp for the summer, it provided me a home for life. For the first time in my life I met others who cared about me like family. I met those that pushed me, and others who taught me. I figured if I could climb a mountain, I can really do anything.
I am currently attending UCLA and have been dedicating my time to learning about the long history of injustices that detriment communities of color. During my time here I have worked at various non-profits and assisted with Vision Zero, a city wide initiative focused on lowering traffic related deaths and injuries. I am also the youngest fellow to ever attend USC’s Predoctoral Summer Institute. I was invited by Brown University to fly across the country and visit their Doctoral Programs. Recently, I started the UCLA Law Fellows program and have been working on making myself a better Law School Candidate.
In order to protect the vulnerable communities that exist in Los Angeles I am going the extra mile. Education is the catalyst for positive change within these underprivileged spaces. If it was not for R.M. Pyles Boys Camp I know that I would not be where I am today. I owe this camp more than just my hard work which is why I want to continue my education in order to help those in need. I plan to attend Law School or Graduate School and will focus on communities in need. I understand that brining in new concepts to these communities will result in social change and movements. I understand that my dreams and aspirations may be big, but Pyles taught me that any mountain can be climbed if you take it one step at a time.