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Gabriela Sevilla

Washington, DC | Law Student at Howard University

I was born and raised in New jersey. My father immigrated from Ecuador and met my Puerto Rican mother in the early 90’s. As a first generation college student the college admission process was difficult to navigate on my own. Either way, I made my family proud when I earned my undergraduate degree from Rutgers University. I am now a second year law student at Howard University School of law in Washington, DC. I was recently awarded a summer fellowship award from the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia to fund my summer work at Advocates for Justice and Education. At Advocates for Justice and Education, I educate and empower families of children with special needs to be advocates for their education and when needed, file complaints when their rights have been violated.

What have been your struggles as a Latina?

As a Latina I have struggled to survive despite many challenges that are common in the Latino community. I graduated from college and I was homeless. My father worked as a welder for many years, was laid off, and then invested his savings in a failed business. We struggled to sell our family home during the housing crisis and eventually it was foreclosed. During my senior year at Rutgers, my father abruptly left back to Ecuador. My father also struggled with alcoholism my entire life, adding to our financial struggles. Subsequently, I had to act as a parent to my younger brother much of my life because unfortunately my mother suffers from a mental illness. Some Latinas have to grow up fast to support their family, I was no different.

What does Latina Made mean to you?

Latina Made means one who will not be broken and that will not stand to be defined by stereotypes.

What made you who you are today?

My struggles molded me into the woman I am today. Without my struggle I would not have found my strength and perseverance.

What advice would you give to young Latinas in our community?

My advice to other young Latinas is to never give up and to hold on to their dreams, particularly in this moment in time. We have negative stereotypes that we must challenge and I encourage young latinas to let their voices be heard on any platform available. Now is not the time to be silent!

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