Arrai Lugo, 19 years old, El Camino College
This scholarship is important to me because it shows that I could be a great role model for not only myself but for my family and other people who come into my life. All of the events and activities are really important to me. Still, the main two were the LGBTQI+ Youth of Color Institute and our “Protect Black girls & Queer youth” South L.A. community action. I had the opportunity to be a facilitator at the institute with Ashantee Polk. It’s important to continue to have events like this for young kids to help them feel accepted. I was so proud of all the work we had put in which was shown on ABC7. I’m glad to be a part of a fantastic group that allows me to be confident and speak up more. In my future career, I’d like to be a criminal defense attorney.
Kimberly Ortiz, 17 years old, Cal State L.A.
Hello everyone! My name is Kimberly Ortiz, I go by the pronouns of she/her(s). I am 17 years old and I will be attending California State University of Los Angeles in the fall of 2022, go eagles woo-hoo! I am extremely grateful to be receiving the Lorraine Hansberry Scholarship because I personally believe in what Lorraine believed in, justice and equality for everyone despite their race, gender, or age. I often find myself intrigued and involved with finding out new ways to aid my South L.A. community because I see how society treats POC as the minority. We have to work for things from the beginning, often making many sacrifices along the way and enduring obstacles till the end. The privileged lifestyle is something that sometimes seems unreachable. Some people are more fortunate than others and are able to build the future they want because they were given those privileges from birth simply by the color of their skin or where they come from. I want to have the appropriate education to open new paths and resources for my generation and for future generations. I live in Watts. The simple name of where I come from makes people automatically think it is a poor and ghetto neighborhood. However, I want to change the concept people have of it as an underrepresented community and become a leader to advocate for all of us in hopes of accomplishing my dreams in the process and becoming a motivation and inspiration to youth of color. Working with the Women’s Leadership Project through my high school years and now onto college has inspired me to become a student activist. When the #Standing4BlackGirls Task Force coalition was created I remember gathering via zoom with all of our members and coming up with demands we wanted for this task force. The mentoring and guidance from Dr. Hutchinson and Clay led us to reach for more because we knew we were capable. One of the most significant #Standing4BlackGirls event we’ve had thus far was one we held at Leimert Park back in April of 2022. It focused on raising awareness for missing and murdered Black Girls because media resources and the community were not doing enough to amplify a voice for these missing women. I enjoyed being a part of the event and sharing a recited poem by Elisabeth Velasquez dedicated to Maylin Reynoso. I enjoyed watching how the Leimert Park community got together and the many vendors that showed support as well as the art displays. Feeling a passion for these types of change is what inspired me to pursue my dream profession falling in the category of a Criminal Justice Major and Minoring or Double Majoring in Chicano Studies. I love embracing hope and aspire to become someone my family is always proud of. Thank you to the Lorraine Hansberry Scholarship for providing me with the opportunity to continue these goals and thank you to my wonderful WLP family for always supporting me and making each meeting a positive place.
Zorrie Petrus, 20 years old, El Camino College
This scholarship is important to me because it has helped me with important school fees and helps ensure I’m getting my education to help better my future.
There are many WLP activities that standout to me, but I’d have to say the presentation we held at Gardena for the first time since the pandemic started was special. Being back at my high school and talking to young students who actually cared what we had to say while being engaged in the conversation. Going to New York will always be a special moment for me as well. I’m so thankful to be a part of WLP and for all the opportunities, memories, and new moments to come.
I aspire to become a professional photographer and filmmaker while owning my own studio and scoring my own films. Taking photos and storytelling is my passion. I can’t wait to travel more with my work, meet new people, create art that will inspire others and have fun with what I’m doing! Photography and filmmaking will always be something I’m passionate about.
Ashantee Polk, 19 years old, L.A. City College
My name is Ashantee Polk, I am 19 years old, and I attend Los Angeles City College. I aspire to get my doctorate in Psychology. This scholarship is important to me because college has been hard these past two years and this is my last year at Los Angeles City College and it’s going to be helpful in my academic achievement.
The most important WLP activity to me is when we conducted a survey at my alma mater King/Drew Magnet High School. Safety for black and brown women are not talked about at schools enough and in particular at my high school, microaggressions occurred, and we’re never highlighted, but WLP changed that and helped shed light on this issue of Black and Brown women on campus. It’s an ongoing fight but every semester, we do something different to achieve solutions.
Deaven Rector, 22 years old, Howard University Law School
My name is Deaven L. Rector, and, at the age of 22, I will be a rising 2L at Howard University School of Law. I aspire to be an educational lawyer as well as the superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District. The Lorraine Hansberry Humanist scholarship is important to me because it has helped me thrive as a first-generation college and law student.
As a judicial clerk for the Honorable Judge Rupert Byrdsong of the Los Angeles Superior Court, I was able to learn the intricacies of litigation and work diligently in a fast-paced environment. I received first-hand experience on the trickle-down impact of employment law, and have seen the effects it has on my community. Many of the cases he oversaw were primarily based in employment discrimination. I assisted Judge Byrdsong with research and document review to help determine the viability of potential cases.
My experience as both a national competitor in moot court and a judicial clerk has sharpened my analytical skills, legal experience, and work ethic. In fact, while serving as captain on the Morehouse Undergraduate Moot Court team for three years in a row, I was named one of the top eight oral advocates in the south region. Moreover, I received the Best Overall Advocate award at the Charles Hamilton Houston Intramural Moot Court Competition.
As a summer associate at Northrop Grumman, I aided high-level stakeholders and corporate partners with matters related to litigation, government contracts, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, compliance, cyber security, labor, and employment. In addition, I was tasked with conducting in-depth research to present reasonable solutions to recent economic inflation to the Vice President of Strategic Forces Program. I also assisted students and parents in my capacity as a legal fellow for The Office of the Student Advocate by proposing groundbreaking legislation for the DC State Board of Education that focused on bullying harassment and school safety.
Lizette Tecuapetla, 18 years old, Cal Poly Pomona
My name is Lizette Tecuapetla. I am the former vice-president of WLP. I graduated from King Drew Magnet High School, Class of 2022 and I’m going to Cal Poly Pomona to further my education in the area of Biology. From the moment I was introduced to the career of a Zoologist, I became convinced that it was the perfect path for me to follow. I love being surrounded by nature and all of its wonders, following this path in my education would allow me to do not only that but more!
Over the course of time working with the Women’s Leadership Project, I have seen myself mature from a misinformed and nonchalant teenager into a young adult that seeks knowledge for herself. I am grateful for all that WLP has presented me with, including the endless opportunities to have my voice as a young LatinX female be recognized. Most of all, I am forever thankful for the first Standing4BlackGirls rally event which sparked that interest in me to become involved in my community to increase the awareness towards the issues that the BIPOC community faces. I am honored to be a part of such an amazing organization that genuinely cares for my success. I feel even more honored to be recognized as a recipient of this scholarship. This scholarship is very significant to me as it will be a great help towards the costs of my education. Receiving this scholarship has given me peace of mind, and will allow me to continue to pursue my educational dreams. I greatly appreciate the generous financial support and the opportunity to pursue both my educational and extracurricular dreams.