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The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School

CHAT News

The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School

CHAT News

Increasing the percentage: Chinaelo Chukwuelue paves the way for Black women in law

Increasing+the+percentage%3A+Chinaelo+Chukwuelue+paves+the+way+for+Black+women+in+law
Donated by Chinaelo Chukwuelue

After years of fighting to have rights, many black people still face the struggles that their ancestors fought hard to break free from. Since it is 2024, it would be fair to think that the world has finally agreed to not judge people by the color of their skin or by their gender, but discrimination still continues to make its way around the world. So to change that, Charter alumna Chinaelo Chukwuelue created a plan for herself to one day have a place in law, while also advocating for girls who look just like her.

In the historically significant month of February, Chinaelo recognizes what Black History Month means to her as an Igbo Nigerian, but also as a first-generation. “Just celebrating who I am and being appreciative of my culture [is special], but also recognizing the struggles that I have gone through and realizing that my struggles don’t necessarily define me.” After her parents came from Nigeria to the United States, Chinaelo knew that she wanted to make a name for herself. She ended up becoming the first person in her family to go to law school and strives far to make something for herself and her family in America.

Growing up in the years 2009-2017 established the mindset for Chinaelo to believe that anything is possible. During those years, Michelle Obama was the first Black First Lady, which showed Chinaelo that she could do anything and “inspired me to become a lawyer.” But it wasn’t just Michelle Obama that influenced her, it was “my curiosity for the world, about the law, and how our legal system is so incorporated and involved in many of the things that we do, and I’ve always been interested in solving complex issues.”

That’s one of the struggles that I’ve had as a black woman in those spaces, but also realizing that I’m creating a pathway for other black women to follow suit makes me feel more comfortable.

— Chinaelo Chukwuelue

However, in a field dominated by white men, it never gets easier. Being new to the field and dealing with their differences, Chinaelo says, “One of the biggest issues [I deal with is] Imposter Syndrome. Going into spaces that are predominantly led by white men, a lot of the time you feel as if you can’t connect with them because they have different interests than what you may have had, so sometimes it’s really hard connecting in those spaces and networking. That’s one of the struggles that I’ve had as a black woman in those spaces, but also realizing that I’m creating a pathway for other black women to follow suit makes me feel more comfortable.”

As she pushes through and completes her second year of law school at Duke University, Chinaelo sees herself helping other women of color become lawyers, creating a space that is more diverse, and also teaching other lawyers the importance of having diverse attorneys in the workplace. Only 2% of black women are lawyers, which to Chinaelo “is an alarming number because we are in 2024… there are people who want to be lawyers, but they can’t because of resources or they can’t because of systematic racism. I’m sure there are more than 2% of Black women who want to be lawyers, but, unfortunately, they can’t necessarily go after their dreams because they lack resources.”

Before her time in law school, Chinaelo graduated from Charter in 2018 and was involved in SGA and was Senior class president. She states that she made many lifelong friends and connections, but most importantly one. “Mr. Curry was my SGA advisor and teacher. He was a great person who was always there for us. He was my go-to teacher and was inspiring. Every single day I looked forward to his class.”

Do not give up on your dreams and that your dreams are 100% achievable. You can do it and for you to just believe in yourself. It is so very much possible that you can be a lawyer, just keep working and try your best, and always ask for help if you need it.

— Chinaelo Chukwuelue

In the future, Chinaleo sees herself going into Big Law, and accomplishing many other desires. “After I graduate [from law school], I hope to pass the bar exam, become an attorney, and ultimately, become a mentor and an inspiration for other young girls who also want to be lawyers, so I see myself in the future making an impact and making a name for my family in America. But, also, I see myself helping my community back home in Nigeria as well.”

Acting as a nurturing figure to other black girls interested in law, if Chinaelo could say one thing to the girls out there, it would be: “Do not give up on your dreams and that your dreams are 100% achievable. You can do it and for you to just believe in yourself. It is so very much possible that you can be a lawyer, just keep working and try your best, and always ask for help if you need it.”

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About the Contributor
Eri Fatimilehin
Eri Fatimilehin, Alumni Editor
Hey, I’m Eri and I am in 10th grade! This is my first year in the CHAT as a Alumni Editor and I hope to write stories everyone will enjoy! I love to read, crochet, and travel. If you want to contact me, feel free to email me at [email protected].

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