African-American, Latina aims to change institutional framework predisposing people to fail

20-7942_0001_R_16x20_S_LL_NewOne_250[W]hen asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to say that I wanted to be ‘Queen of the World’. Now older and wiser, I realize that that is not a feasible aspiration. But I do want to be a Senator, or maybe even President. I want to use a position of political power to impact my constituents in a positive way, creating demonstrative change in the lives of many.

I chose Government as my major as a means of accomplishing this goal. In college, I have actively pursued coursework that can give me knowledge of various world systems and the current national and global political frameworks. As I learn how these work, I hope to prepare myself for my future work as a legislator.

Gaining enough knowledge, however,  is only part of the challenge. Part of becoming an elected official involves a struggle I have dealt with my whole life: having self-confidence.

It is hard to succeed in a world that maintains an institutional framework that predisposes you to fail. As an African-American, as a Latina, and as a woman in the United States of America, I have regularly faced discrimination, harassment, racism, and sexism. It often seems as if I am supposed to accept them.

I did for much of my formative years. Not only did I allow people to say offensive comments, but I believed them. I believed it when people said I was not good enough, or smart enough, or simply just not enough. I was not capable of success; I should give up. Why try?

But now, I ask, why not? After learning more about others who came before me—the trailblazers, the female leaders, the inspirational people of color—I  now realize that I must follow in their path. I know that prejudice still exists; I have experienced it. But I also know that someone needs to defy the stereotypes and show the world that an African-American, Latina woman can succeed, that she can be smart, that she can be enough, and more.

I plan on using my Government degree from Harvard to do just that. Wherever  my future studies take me, whichever career I choose to pursue, I know that I will be doing justice to myself and all of the other little girls who aspire to be Queens of the World, Presidents or Senators. I am doing this for them.

We are proud to announce Taji Alessandra Hutchins is one of the current DiversityJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.