Supporting Our Future! 2017 VCLF Legal Scholarship Recipient Andrea Solis

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October 2017

By Laurence Kaldor, President of the VCLF

AS A PRE-TEEN, ANDREA SOLIS POSSESSED enough insight to grasp that “injustice is a part of life” and “its pervasiveness in low-income areas only exacerbates inequality in our society.”

While growing up, her family struggled to make ends meet and she has vivid memories of experiencing disadvantages unknown in wealthier neighborhoods– “violent crime, intimidating gangs, inadequate schools, and an overwhelming sense of despair that makes [people want to] give up.”

“Despite growing up in difficult circumstances, Solis learned to appreciate everything and take nothing for granted.”

Working at the Eviction Defense Network (EDN), her mother introduced her to the possibilities of addressing social wrongs through legal means. Andrea recalls from
her early childhood witnessing many in her neighborhood enduring unlawful evictions at the hands of landlords looking to exorbitantly raise rents. Her awareness of this injustice inspired her to work towards acquiring a career as an attorney so that one day she could assist the less fortunate in her community.

Volunteering at EDN, Solis has been able to witness firsthand the strife and tribulations of her indigent and elderly neighbors. “All my life I have seen neighbors crying and completely broken,” says Andrea. “An elderly lady named Helen lived below our apartment, and the landlord saw her as an easy target. My mother and I recommended she go to EDN, and she won her case.”

However, she says, “The landlord was relentless and harassed her until she didn’t have the resources to fight anymore and was forced to move out. People are forced to leave their apartments simply because they have the temerity to request basic repairs involving plumbing, electricity, leaky roofs, or vermin infestation.”

While helping people as a student volunteer has been vastly rewarding for Andrea, she has been motivated to work towards “become an attorney to fight for justice through our courts.”

Despite growing up in difficult circumstances, Solis learned to appreciate everything and take nothing for granted– a positive attitude that has helped propel her to the upper echelon of her high school class and admittance to Smith College in Massachusetts. While Smith has provided her with limited financial aid, she still, “face[s] the burden of taking out loans to make up the deficit.”

Aware of the cost of attending law school and worried that her debt-load after graduation might limit her ability to perform public-interest law, she gratefully acknowledged that, “with the help of this scholarship, I hope to remain on course so that I may attain my dream of becoming an attorney who helps the underprivileged secure their rights.”

Andrea conveyed her gratitude personally to San Fernando Valley Bar Association President Kira Masteller and VCLF President Laurence N. Kaldor, stating that her scholarship “would help relieve some of the financial pressure and enable me to focus more on my academics and my goal to make a positive difference in my community.”