This past summer, as I sat in the living room listening to my family converse about the best way to handle our property, I began to notice the many awards, articles, and pictures of my great-grandfather, Moses Teel Sr. I have always been cognizant of his accomplishments; however, this time it was different. This time I analyzed his accomplishments and I analyzed what led him to be such a great man. As I sat staring at each award, I realized my great-grandfather was a mere farmer living with his eight kids, one wife, and little to no money, making him no different from the people two miles up the road. Yet, this simple man was able to become a prominent civil rights activist in Pitt County. You’d think that a man who was able to accomplish such greatness would have had a strong education; however, that wasn’t the case. So, the question I asked myself was, how could Moses Teel Sr., who only had a third-grade education and nothing unique about his lifestyle impact his family, community, and the lives of those to come after him so greatly? I wish I could say there was a confetti cannon, a light bulb that flipped on over my head, or a big celebration once I figured it out. Instead, there was a taxidermied deer mounted on the living room wall that caught my attention as I figured out that the reason he was so successful was that he found his passion. For him, fighting injustice was so important he put his family’s security, his life, and his namesake at risk. Making sure the kids in the community were afforded opportunities they deserved is what fueled Moses Teel Sr. to risk so much.
Shortly after I had figured out the reason for success for my great-grandfather the epiphany I was so reluctant to accept blossomed before my eyes. I realized I could no longer be driven by my ambitions, becoming a lawyer, but I had to acknowledge and accept that my passions are what will lead me to leave the impact I want. The part that I was most reluctant to accept was that my dream of becoming a lawyer was no longer the end goal for me. My passion for being a catalyst for change, speaking up for others, and looking for ways to help others, along with my desire to live in a nation that upholds the founding principles of “liberty and justice for all,” is what led me to realize, running for a national elected office is my end goal. My great-grandfather was driven by his passion for equal rights in his community; I, too, am driven by a passion, bequeathed by this great man, to enact change on a national scale. My great-grandfather is my biggest inspiration in life because he stopped at nothing to accomplish the goal he set for himself. When the odds were against him, he fought until he came out victorious. The story of his perseverance taught me the importance of education, believing in yourself and goals, and unity in the community.
To achieve the goals I have set for myself, I will be a first-generation Black woman attending Campbell University. I will obtain my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with double minors in Pre-Law and International Studies. While working towards my 4-year degree, I will also be participating in Campbell's accelerated program for aspiring lawyers. This accelerated program will allow me to earn my law degree in four and a half to five years. My tenure at Campbell will give me the knowledge to better help members of my community who have been neglected for so long. Upon earning my law degree, with dual concentrations in civil litigation and criminal litigation, I would like to practice and become a partner at a prestigious law firm built on bettering the community and serving their clients. My reason for desiring to practice civil litigation is to help kids feel safe and have their voices heard during the battles between their parents, just as the lawyer who handled my family’s custody battle did for me. My mother was, and still is, a courageous woman who was my sole provider and caretaker, so I continuously strive to be great, so she can see her sacrifices did not go in vain. I am extremely grateful to the lawyer in my custody battle was able to help my mother attain full custody over me. It is because of my own case that has caused me to want to pay it forward.
In addition, my reason for desiring practicing criminal litigation is to be part of the change that includes, criminals, getting prosecuted for the actual crime committed, and not the color of their skin. I believe lawyers have a tremendous impact on their community and I would like to play an active and positive role in my community and communities like it through creating foundations to help first-generation college students, like myself, representation for communities not desirable to others, and genuine effort to give back with time and resources. Obtaining my education in Law will allow me to develop the skills I will need to leave a positive impact in my community and give me the experience I need to be better prepared to lead the country positively in a new direction and leave a legacy of strong leadership just as my great-grandfather’s, Moses Teel Sr. I aspire to help the marginalized, disenfranchised, and neglected members of society. There is a serious need for reform and justice to be in the American justice system, so to see that change occurs I have to be part of it and use the knowledge represented by my law degree to create the change.