During a college internship at the San Diego Superior Court, Cindy Muro helped domestic violence victims get restraining orders. The work hit close to home: Muro herself had survived an abusive relationship. Her placement through JusticeCorps, a national service program, showed her the power of helping others through the law.
“It was rewarding to help give people the ability to create distance from the perpetrator and a sense of protection,” says Muro, now a 1L at UC Hastings. Her efforts to advocate on behalf of domestic violence survivors earned Muro a Survivors of Abuse Rising (SOAR) for Justice Scholarship.
“Cindy primarily assisted Spanish-speaking immigrant women near the U.S.-Mexico border who often face cultural, language and economic barriers in family court,” says Dovie Yoana King, founder and director of SOAR for Justice. “We commend Cindy for her commitment to social justice and gender equality.”
The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Muro went to college at San Diego State, where she majored in Chicana/o Studies and Urban Studies with an emphasis in Political Economy and Public Policy. She spent two years as the president of Lambda Theta Alpha, the first Latina sorority in the U.S., and joined Raices Unidas, a student group that founded a Latino family graduation on campus.
Her interest in law was sparked after volunteering for the American Civil Liberties Union in their Imperial Legal Outreach Program. She spent nearly a year assisting lawyers on asylum cases at an immigration detention center in Calexico, California and researching prolonged detention. “It was a turning point for me to be able to listen to people’s stories and do everything in my power to help people help themselves,” she says. “What I love about the field is that we’re not a voice for someone else; they already have a voice. We’re simply creating a channel and platform for them to be heard.”
When it was time to choose a law school, Muro decided to attend UC Hastings because she perceived an “open mindset” and support for students of color. As the 1L rep for the La Raza Law Students Association, she helped bring minority students to visit the law school for a day. “There aren’t a lot of people of color in law schools and the legal system, and the problem is systemic. We want them to see what it’s like and see themselves here,” she says.
Muro plans to maximize her legal education by enrolling in Hastings’ Social Justice Lawyering concentration and working in the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic and Immigrants’ Rights clinics. Her ultimate goal is to become an immigration attorney. “I want to be out there doing direct representation and helping advocate for people, she says. “With the political climate now, it’s more important than ever. I’m hoping to evoke change.”