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Be the Change

UEI College is committed to supporting racial equality.

We stand in solidarity with the African American community for social justice. 

Kyla S.

Gardena Campus Finalist and Be the Change Scholarship Recipient

BOOM! I could still hear my cell closing for the first time. At 18 I became the common statistic of an upcoming African American woman from South Central L.A. Where I’m from, there’s only two ways to truly make it out, and that’s jail or a casket. But I choose differently. The social injustice in South Central once took my dreams, ambition, faith and even my sanity, and because of that I seek a change in my community. My experience with the justice system started off with accusations which is common when being convicted for a crime but it wasn’t the accusations, it was more so about POWER. At 18 I’d been showered with love, support, and commitment, up until I fell short to the system. The things I heard and saw were almost like they wanted to throw me in a hole. And if I made it out of the hole they wanted to make it easy for me to get back there. Imagine sitting in a courtroom full of people against you for not only your mistakes but others too, some pent on you just because you “fit the description”. I knew I if I wanted to ever have my freedom back I’d have to fight by their rules. When you’re in a courtroom and your own lawyer looks back and laughs in your crying mother’s face, that’s when you know it’s YOU or A DOLLAR SIGN. The justice system painted a disgusting picture of me and I see how easy it was with my basic background information: a young BLACK girl with a single mother with little to no education, no father .....etc.

The system somehow always takes half of your pain and truth and paints what we hide every day: OUR INNER MONSTER. When saying our inner monster, I’m referring to the person our pain could have made us into, the paths we fight every day not take. My family and peers were not prepared for this fight and neither was I. At 18 you can only imagine the time spent worrying about the things you haven’t done and still wanted to do, and that’s when the value of WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE comes in. As a black woman, and knowing the amount of spiritual energy everyone wastes trying to fight our troubles while on a mission to be great, I would never want the youth in my community to continue to experience this type of social battle. Family and friends of mine have never experienced that level of inequality. BUT I HAVE. For the peers and youth of my generation, future generations, and generations ahead, I want to promote and build black equality and excellence. When saying promote I’m using myself as a walking proof of equality. Outside of my experience, I know my truth and I’m born to be great. I would like for the kids around me to know WE MATTER and we can make it. I am committed to myself and my peers. I want to be living proof you can fail at life and still reach victory with determination. The image that was painted of me during my injustice experience was helped by myself just by being with the wrong crowd. A wise woman once said to me “What’s done can always be undone”.

I’m currently in the process of rebuilding myself. Meaning I’m fixing what’s been done the right way. When sitting there realizing the justice system did not care for my life as a human being and it’s all about the dollar when dealing with power, I decided I was going to go after my golden ticket. I’m in the process of completing school at UEI Gardena with a 4.0 G.P.A, and you’d never believe this is my story. I want the people of my community to understand that the reality of this social injustice may have broken our hearts, but it opened our eyes to something much greater. Our lives are worth more than they present themselves out in the “real world”. Therefore, I believe that my people need me as a voice and living proof of self-worth. Because we’re not valued as human beings we’ll be valued as leaders, and people of power. The same power they used to take from us is the same power I plan to use and build my happy ending to a tragic, broken, battlefield that I once thought was the only way to live. This plan is not just for my story but the ones who can relate to my pain and experience with life overall. For the ones who truly believe they’re stuck and there is no way out. I want their hopes and dreams to become a reality through me. I AM THE VOICE OF SOUTH CENTRAL L.A. and I’m determined to pave the way to this change.

We Are

Getting a Second


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