In our First Graduate 7th grade advisory at James Denman Middle School, we have a monthly FirstGen Speaker Series where we invite successful professionals who are first-generation college students to discuss their journey with our students. The goal of this series is to expose our students to inspiring real-life success stories of adults who were “first”. In February, we were thrilled to have the wonderful Irma Herrera as our speaker.
Irma Herrera is an award-winning lawyer, social justice activist, journalist and playwright. Growing up in a Latino community in a segregated town in South Texas, Irma faced many of the challenges that our First Graduate students face today. Through hard work and grit, Irma became the first in her family to graduate college and went on to be a prominent lawyer and activist in the Bay Area. Irma worked at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational fund, served as the Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates for 13 years, and is a board member at a number of influential Bay Area nonprofits. Currently, Irma is performing her one-woman show “Tell Me Your Name” that tackles questions of identity, culture and justice.
Before her presentation to the whole class, Irma sat down for an interview with one of our 7th grade students, Emmanuel.