What I Want To Be

What I Want To Be by Jessica C.

Growing up as a black girl in the south, it is impossible to overlook the things that happen to us every day in this country. People get brutalized in the streets and held in prisons for crimes they did not commit all because of the color of their skin. I observe these things happening every single day, and I want to do something. This is why I want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, graduate law school, and become a district attorney (DA).

I knew early on that a career in law was the way for me to go. I was always the kid to ask why and debate—especially when chores were involved—and to stand up for the little guy. I just needed to specify what I wanted to do. Initially, I considered being a defense attorney, but I would not be able to provide services to people who need it and could not afford it. If I took every case pro bono I would be unable to make a living. Then being a judge crossed my mind, but judges are constricted. If the jury found a person guilty and I disagreed with the ruling, I would still have to pass a sentence. I would not want to be trapped within the constraints of a jury’s decision. Ultimately, I arrived at a district attorney. They have so much power yet not many people know it.

Most voters do not pay attention to who is running for district attorney. More than half of voters think the DA has a minor impact and almost half don’t even know that chief prosecutors are elected. It is such an important office and people should be more educated on it. The district attorney decides which crimes are brought before a judge, if the prosecution goes hard or easy on a person and they decide what punishment to request from a judge. Ninety percent of felony cases do not go to trial and are settled with a plea. It is here that a district attorney really has all of the power, especially when the defendant cannot afford an adequate defense. To me, the decision of which cases to prosecute and what cases to drop is the most important. If a district attorney decides to stop prosecuting marijuana possession charges, then there is no need for officers to go out brutalizing people for simple suspicion. Whether a person believes that there are too few people in prison or too many, the chief prosecutor is an extremely important position that a lot more people should pay attention to.

Taking this all into consideration, I know that a district attorney is the job for me. I would be able to work in a field that I love, a field that challenges me intellectually, and I would be able to help my fellow man at the same time. However, this is not a job that someone can just apply for and get overnight. It takes many years of schooling, experience, networking and campaigning. There is a long road of hard work ahead of me but I know that I have the drive and resilience to push through and succeed. Although I am young I have experienced hard times, last year especially, which took a toll on my grade point average (GPA).  Those difficult times have taught me that I can do and overcome anything as long as I put my mind to it. My mission and what I want to be in the future aligns with FAMU’s mission statement of empowering citizens and communities and solving complex issues. Improving the way people are treated in this country will be no easy feat but I will do my best to help, one case at a time. I look forward to attending Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in the fall of 2018 to take the first steps in my journey of public service.

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