This I Believe

Ashleigh - centennial, Colorado
Entered on August 7, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I have always been a fighter. I was born two months early and weighed only two pounds-I had to fight just to stay alive. My family always says how grateful they are that I was okay, even though I had to stay in the hospital for a month. The doctors were worried I would have developmental and learning problems, but I was reading at age four and began typing on a computer when I was five. I am defined as a person by my determination and stubbornness, which I have always had since the day I was born.

In middle school, I wrote a letter to the principal and fought the dress code, explaining its violation of student rights. In high school, I fought with my parents about curfew and its ineffectiveness. Today, reflecting on my 18 years, I am grateful to belong to the national American identity and be able to fight for what I believe in.

I take advantage of the freedoms I have been given as an American. Ever since I first learned about the Declaration of Independence, I have been fascinated with the principles this country is based upon-justice, freedom, and equality. These ideas are essential in forming a national American identity. Growing up, I learned from my parents and teachers that everyone should be treated equally, no matter what color, gender, age, or religion. It still frustrates and saddens me to hear about the Holocaust, segregation, or anything of the kind because they are instances where basic human rights are being violated. Learning from the past, I am determined to help in the fight to allow all people to get the equality they deserve.

Fighting for justice is something that I have always done, and is one of the reasons I plan on becoming a lawyer. It makes me feel empowered to speak out against what I believe is unfair. It may not seem like much, but to me, it is amazing to be able to voice my opinion and be heard, and it makes me realize that I am capable of creating change. I will continue to fight against oppression, inequality, and discrimination, no matter how trivial or impossible it seems. It is where my passion lies; it is something that I have been driven to do ever since I can remember. I am truly proud to say I am an American and I can exercise the rights that have been given to me.