We live in a society where people label you without them even knowing you, one that often has excessive expectations and little to no hope. I was expected to come out a thug and drug dealer, like my friends and family.

Being able to be the first to bring a college degree into my family is a blessing and honor. I am helping make a legacy for my family and breaking down the stereotypes about people living in urban cities. It has not been easy and I have sacrificed much, working two jobs to help pay the bills. Leaving my family behind was a tough choice but one I had to make in order to invest in our future. I want more for myself and for my family. Getting an education has expanded my horizons and ways of thinking. I am standing up against all forms of oppression and refusing to stay within the stereotypes of an inner city child.

After nights of crying and worrying about how I was going to pay for school, I was privileged to continue with my education. It felt good to have people believe in me and my desire to overcome all the obstacles I had in front of me as a rape survivor and coming out as a homosexual. I would like to say thank you to No More Tears for awarding me a $5,000 scholarship.

I want to show society, and the institutions that oppress us, that we can overcome any form of rejection by educating ourselves and wanting more for ourselves.

We, as community members, have to show more love to one another and spread hope and faith so that we can keep on believing that just one day we will all be equal. Coming from parents whose highest education was middle school made me appreciate education. Being a Barry Buccaneer means the world to me. Thank you to No More Tears for giving me a chance to hope again and pursue my biggest challenge and hopefully reward in life.