Top 5 Things We Learned from District Attorney Jackie Lacey

Top 5 things we learned from District Attorney Jackie Lacey

On Wednesday, August 6, WriteGirl had the privilege of hearing District Attorney Jackie Lacey speak about her experience as a lawyer and first woman district attorney of Los Angeles. We were inspired and empowered by her words. Here are 5 things we learned:

One. “I feel that no matter where we are from, we can go anywhere.”--Jackie Lacey

Jackie Lacey herself was a first-generation college student. Through hard-work, her experiences taught us that although we may come from backgrounds of struggles, we can overcome those obstacles with the determination and ambition to fulfill our dreams. The triumph of the human spirit is an incredible thing to witness and we are all capable of it.

Two. Your college major does not define your career.

As many of us are about to start college I have often been asked about what we want to do in the future. What are our career goals and most often, what are we planning on doing with our majors? Most of the time this incessant inquiring comes from parents and we are left with wondering “what are we doing with our lives?” However, we have been given hope and comfort by Jackie Lacey’s experience. DA Jackie Lacey majored in Psychology during her time at the University of California, Irvine in hopes of becoming a teacher. At the time she had no idea that being a teacher was not in the cards for her and later made the decision to pursue law. Turns out her major in psychology was not useless as she uses that knowledge to bring attention to current issues surrounding mental illnesses and the criminal justice system. She taught us that though you may not directly pursue a career in your college major, your studies can help you gain perspectives that affect your work. We now look forward to attending college and proudly announcing our majors to those who have doubts of what we can do with them. We know that no matter what we do in college, it will all be used as knowledge to guide us into figuring out what we want to do in the future.

Three. “Don’t limit yourself. We need to start seeing ourselves as the boss.”--Jackie Lacey

DA Lacey told us that “we are often distracted by the noise of other people doubting our true potential, but sometimes we need to address our own noise.” Erase the doubts and lack of self-confidence that hinder yourself from moving forward. DA Jackie Lacey realized at one point in her life that instead of planning for retirement, she should try to see how she could personally influence and help her community. The results were and continue to be astounding as she has helped numerous people. Had Jackie Lacey limited herself, she would not have lived up to her full potential. We all have listened to our voices and others voices that have told us we couldn’t do something. When we have silenced those voices, we have been able to be the lead in a play, join our school’s campus news, and realized that we could go to college.

Four. Success is the best revenge.

When Jackie Lacey ran for election as the District Attorney, she was running against people who did not believe in her ability to win. They sat her down and told her “You need to drop out of this election. You’re never going to win.” Despite the discouragement she received from her peers, she managed to succeed, winning the election and becoming the first woman and African-American District Attorney of Los Angeles. From her experiences, we learned that in order to succeed in your goals, it is important to believe in yourself, even when others do not. There have been times when we were doubtful and lacked confidence that we were on the right path. We have learned that if you don’t believe in yourself you’re never going to achieve what you want. “Though it hurt a lot,” she said, remembering the negativity that surrounded her election, “it doesn’t hurt as much, now that I’ve proved them wrong.” Stand up for what you believe in because in the end the only person you can control is yourself.

Five. “A lot of people don’t understand the power of the pen. You are my hope for the future.”- Jackie Lacey

At the start of the workshop, we wrote about issues in our communities, schools, and that women face in society. After hearing our writing, Jackie Lacey expressed the importance of the written word, stating that our words can change the world around us, as writing spreads awareness within the community and beyond. She used the power of words to win her campaign in the election, and her experiences helped us to realize that we, with our words, can change the world around us with our intelligence, knowledge and perseverance.

Writing Prompt:

Try this yourself and see the power of your words! After we wrote about the issues we would like to change we felt empowered and could see the steps needed to make change.

Pick something that you encounter in your daily life that bothers or worries you. Write about what you feel you could do to bring change to this situation.