I REALLY NEED ADVICE ABOUT MY DIVERSITY STATEMENT, PLEASE :)

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
bretrobert1120
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 12:39 am

I REALLY NEED ADVICE ABOUT MY DIVERSITY STATEMENT, PLEASE :)

Postby bretrobert1120 » Mon May 24, 2010 11:44 pm

Being a young homosexual male coming of age in a tiny rural town in Massachusetts was a metaphorical death sentence. My peers focused on my sexual orientation with razor-sharp precision, paying little or no attention to my odd Greek last name or my Puerto Rican ethnicity. Though I was not the only gay student, I was the only one open about my sexuality. The others were too scared to be honest about their sexual preference, especially after watching our peers denigrate me daily. As the years progressed, the social transformation was predictable: I evolved from “the girl” in elementary school, to the “the gay kid” in middle school and finally graduated to “the [HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.]” in high school. The perpetual taunting, mockery, hateful rhetoric, and physical violence would have been sufficient to drive a weaker person to suicide. Being dismissed based solely on my sexual orientation, without regard for my intellectual ability or my character, was demoralizing. I was reduced to “the fairy freak” in the circus sideshow act that was secondary eduction. I never responded to the verbal or physical attacks; instead I was resolved to embrace my faith and keep my head held high in stoic, magnanimous silence. Sir Winston Churchill once proclaimed: “Kites fly highest against the wind, not with it.” I am living, breathing proof of this.

I hoped, in vain, that the bigotry would subside – perhaps dissipate – as people grew older. As I became politically aware, I realized that discrimination in schools and in the broader social context always concealed itself behind words, albeit rhetoric or unjust law. Due to these unjust laws, I have found myself in many painful situations. I have consoled an elderly woman after she was prohibited from visiting the hospital bedside of her female partner who lay helplessly dying of brain cancer. I was heartbroken to see the dream of parenthood crumble as an adoption counselor informed a close family friend that they were being denied adoption rights in favor of more “traditional families”. I have shared the anger of acquaintances that were discharged from the U.S. Navy under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Soon it became clear to me that not all justice is equal. There are laws that are not founded upon equality, much to the detriment of our country.

Upon my first visit to Washington D.C., I remember standing in the entranceway of the U.S. Supreme Court building, and staring up at the venerated engraving, “Equal justice under law”. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the power in that simple phrase. If law is the basis on which societies are built, then equal justice serves as the foundation and the guiding light to legal theory. If laws serve to equally protect people, then those laws must be founded upon equal justice – laws that apply only to some have no place in our legal system. My experiences with discrimination based on my sexual orientation have helped me to realize the importance of equal justice to the law, for I have witnessed how people lose faith in the justice system when laws are perceived to be disproportionate. I am cognizant of the intricate connection between the law and people and how law impacts society, which will help me to succeed in the legal field. My history, and that of those I have known, has helped inspire my pursuit of a law degree. Their stories have bolstered my determination and confidence in my ability to help bridge the credibility gap between the gay community and the justice system. I also believe with the enactment of strict anti-gay bullying laws, young gays and lesbians would have the freedom to come to terms with their sexual identity openly and honestly, reassured by the fact that they will always have equal justice under law. I will use my legal education to be a strong force behind this change.

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trialjunky
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Re: I REALLY NEED ADVICE ABOUT MY DIVERSITY STATEMENT, PLEASE :)

Postby trialjunky » Tue May 25, 2010 7:50 am

Grammatically, I am of no help. However, I'm pretty good at nailing down substance. The notes below are just suggestions...

bretrobert1120 wrote: (I would work on the introductory sentence. It's not that original or different. I would highlight where you came from and how hard it was being from such a small town but this sentence just doesn't do it for me --> )Being a young homosexual male coming of age in a tiny rural town in Massachusetts was a metaphorical death sentence. My peers focused on my sexual orientation with razor-sharp precision, paying little or no attention to my odd Greek last name or my Puerto Rican ethnicity. [strike]Though I was not the only gay student, I was the only one open about my sexuality. The others were too scared to be honest about their sexual preference[/strike] (<-- Dont care about other people, I just want to hear about you. Also, you shouldn't be speaking for other people. You're assuming that they were too scared to do so and that this decision was due to the way people treated you. Stay away from assumptions. , especially after watching our peers denigrate me daily. As the years progressed, the social transformation was predictable: I evolved from “the girl” in elementary school, to the “the gay kid” in middle school and finally graduated to “the gay man” in high school. The perpetual taunting, mockery, hateful rhetoric, and physical violence would have been sufficient to drive a [strike]weaker person to suicide[/strike] <-- WTF? Either it drove YOU to consider or attempt suicide or it didnt. Dont start assuming how other people would react to same the situation. . Being dismissed based solely on my sexual orientation, without regard for my intellectual ability or my character, was demoralizing. I was reduced to “the fairy freak” in the circus sideshow act that was secondary eduction. I never responded to the verbal or physical attacks; instead I was resolved to embrace my faith and keep my head held high in stoic, magnanimous silence. Sir Winston Churchill once proclaimed: “Kites fly highest against the wind, not with it.” I am living, breathing proof of this.<--I would completely rework this sentence and perhaps place in the beginning of your essay

I hoped, in vain, that the bigotry would subside – perhaps dissipate – as people grew older. As I became politically aware, I realized that discrimination in schools and in the broader social context always concealed itself behind words, albeit rhetoric or unjust law. Due to these unjust laws, I have found myself in many painful situations. I have consoled an elderly woman after she was prohibited from visiting the hospital bedside of her female partner who lay helplessly dying of brain cancer. I was heartbroken to see the dream of parenthood crumble as an adoption counselor informed a close family friend that they were being denied adoption rights in favor of more “traditional families”. I have shared the anger of acquaintances that were discharged from the U.S. Navy under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Soon it became clear to me that not all justice is equal. There are laws that are not founded upon equality, much to the detriment of our country. IMHO, this took too long to get to. I would shorten the "they treated me really badly" part so that you can get to this more quickly.

Upon my first visit to Washington D.C., I remember standing in the entranceway of the U.S. Supreme Court building, and staring up at the venerated engraving, “Equal justice under law”I don't know if it's true but I was advised to only, if at all, use one famous quote in my PS or DS.. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the power in that simple phrase. If law is the basis on which societies are built, then equal justice serves as the foundation and the guiding light to legal theory. If laws serve to equally protect people, then those laws must be founded upon equal justice – laws that apply only to some have no place in our legal system. My experiences with discrimination based on my sexual orientation have helped me to realize the importance of equal justice to the law, for I have witnessed how people lose faith in the justice system when laws are perceived to be disproportionate. I am cognizant of the intricate connection between the law and people and how law impacts society, which will help me to succeed in the legal field. My history, and that of those I have known, has helped inspire my pursuit of a law degree. Their stories have bolstered my determination and confidence in my ability to help bridge the credibility gap between the gay community and the justice system. I also believe with the enactment of strict anti-gay bullying laws, young gays and lesbians would have the freedom to come to terms with their sexual identity openly and honestly, reassured by the fact that they will always have equal justice under law. I will use my legal education to be a strong force behind this change.


You really need to rework the first paragraph completely. IMHO it comes off as a little young and just a list of the injustices you faced instead of an engaging prose on how these injustices have shaped you and your interest in law.

The last paragraph, is my favorite by far. However, I would break it up a littlle.

That's all I can do right now...it's early and I dont have nearly enough coffee in me.

Good luck!

bretrobert1120
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 12:39 am

Re: I REALLY NEED ADVICE ABOUT MY DIVERSITY STATEMENT, PLEASE :)

Postby bretrobert1120 » Tue May 25, 2010 9:00 am

thank you so much, i really appreciate it :) are you already in law school or are you applying this cycle as well?

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DavidYurman85
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Re: I REALLY NEED ADVICE ABOUT MY DIVERSITY STATEMENT, PLEASE :)

Postby DavidYurman85 » Tue May 25, 2010 9:20 am

It's a bit flowery and that takes away from the substance.

Some of the language is vague. ie: "when i became politically aware" (why? from what? how so?, etc...).

Excessive generalizations; "I am cognizant of the intricate connection between the law and people and how law impacts society, which will help me to succeed in the legal field." (it doesn't mean that you will succeed, lots of people are "aware" and don't succeed)

Also, in this essay, your reasons for applying to law school aren't very convincing; gay activism doesn't require a JD. Just something to think about as you're re-working the content.

d34d9823
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:52 pm

Re: I REALLY NEED ADVICE ABOUT MY DIVERSITY STATEMENT, PLEASE :)

Postby d34d9823 » Tue May 25, 2010 9:27 am

DavidYurman85 wrote:Also, in this essay, your reasons for applying to law school aren't very convincing; gay activism doesn't require a JD. Just something to think about as you're re-working the content.

I agree with your other criticisms, but this is just his diversity statement. I don't think you have to include your rationale in every single statement - just having it in the personal statement should be fine.

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DavidYurman85
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Re: I REALLY NEED ADVICE ABOUT MY DIVERSITY STATEMENT, PLEASE :)

Postby DavidYurman85 » Tue May 25, 2010 9:29 am

d34dluk3 wrote:
DavidYurman85 wrote:Also, in this essay, your reasons for applying to law school aren't very convincing; gay activism doesn't require a JD. Just something to think about as you're re-working the content.

I agree with your other criticisms, but this is just his diversity statement. I don't think you have to include your rationale in every single statement - just having it in the personal statement should be fine.


totally right. i forgot it's just a ds!

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trialjunky
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:41 am

Re: I REALLY NEED ADVICE ABOUT MY DIVERSITY STATEMENT, PLEASE :)

Postby trialjunky » Tue May 25, 2010 9:38 am

d34dluk3 wrote:
DavidYurman85 wrote:Also, in this essay, your reasons for applying to law school aren't very convincing; gay activism doesn't require a JD. Just something to think about as you're re-working the content.

I agree with your other criticisms, but this is just his diversity statement. I don't think you have to include your rationale in every single statement - just having it in the personal statement should be fine.


I agree, but it doesn't hurt to reaffirm your strong interest in law. Mostly your right, a DS is just to show what type of diversity you'd bring to the LS.

bretrobert1120
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 12:39 am

Re: I REALLY NEED ADVICE ABOUT MY DIVERSITY STATEMENT, PLEASE :)

Postby bretrobert1120 » Tue May 25, 2010 12:47 pm

thank you everyone so much. as i was about to respond and write "it's just a diversity statement, i don't have to explain or rationalize every single statement i make in it", everyone had the same epiphany. thank you guys so much, i really appreciate it. and just FYI, gay rights/sexuality is not the reason i'm going to law school. i'm actually a research scientist and i'm interested in going into IP/patent law :)




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