I raise my hand a lot in class. The unwritten rule of law school is to avoid being called on at all costs— and here I am voluntarily subjecting myself to scrutiny— so it earns me a lot of strange looks. But it’s actually immensely important to me because it’s important to me to take up space— not physical space, but metaphorical space. I will be heard because I belong here.
I am conscious that women, especially women of color, aren’t expected to talk as much in professional settings. I am conscious when I look around me that there isn’t a single other person who looks like me in the classroom. I am conscious of the expectation that I— as a Brown, Muslim, hijabi, woman of color who is a child of immigrants and a first generation college student— don’t belong in the legal profession.
More than that, when I raise my hand, I am conscious that that expectation almost kept me from applying to law school in the first place.