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As a soon to be counselor I reflect on my ability to change systems of oppression. The

idea sounds overwhelming, especially given my self doubts and limits set upon me. As I become
myself through various transformations I learn to embrace my ability as a contributing force in
our society. My perspective matters and my perspective will be heard because my experience
needs to be told and heard. In honor of people that have come before me, whether its fiercely
strong people of color, woman of color, trans woman of color, GLBTQ people of color, and the
young people that have yet to grow into this path I honor your existence. We are like the weeds
that break through the cement side walks; nobody wants us and we experience many forms of
extermination, however, we are still here, we keep growing again.
Social justice means to change current people in positions of power and restructuring
how we view and accept everything. My lived experiences as a person of color in this country
have dealt with a lot of invalidation, discouragement, and oppression in general. Not all people
of color experience oppression or other negative experiences the same depending on the level of
assimilation. As a person of color that has had the ability, privilege and opportunity to pursue
higher education my role as an agent of change for social justice enables me to advocate for
justice in my pursued field school counseling. I am bilingual, Im educated with a social justice
mission, I want to create equitable systems that help students succeed. With that I move into my
belief on our responsibility in promoting social justice.
Historically, professionals in my field have used theories and practices that are part of a
Eurocentric doctrine. In fact, we are somewhat a product of those ideals. However, as a people of
color coming into academia with varying perspectives that challenge, critically analyze and
apply those ideals to our work with our communities. Consequently, I have experienced poverty
and have an understanding of what it is to be living in this country as a person of color. Thus, I
am guided by my experiences and identities. I believe in a more equitable system that meets
peoples needs without having to take from other people or communities. Being in a school
setting, my motivation is to see each student learning and feeling they are a part of a community.
Dani Pena