The Circle of Inspiration
Recently I had the opportunity to interview Gloria Ochoa-Bruck, and her inspiring story deeply moved me. Growing up, Gloria and her siblings attended almost a dozen elementary schools because their family moved with the harvest. Neither of her parents had the opportunity to finish elementary school in their native Mexico—her father had to stop in second grade while Gloria’s mom was only educated long enough to learn to read and write her name. However, both parents prioritized education for their children—knowing that it would be their ticket to better jobs and a brighter future.
After the 1986 Farmworker’s Amnesty Act went into effect, Gloria’s family began working with a pro-bono lawyer on upgrading their immigration status. This lawyer just happened to be a woman and a Latina, and suddenly Gloria became inspired to pursue a career in law. This part of her story especially moved me because it was actual proof of the “circle of inspiration” that we prize here at CircleAround. It’s the understanding that when women inspire girls those girls grow up to become inspiring women, and that is absolutely the case with Gloria.
Gloria and her siblings inherited a strong work ethic from their parents; in fact, there has hardly been a time where Gloria wasn’t working. As a child, she worked in the fields during the summer; in high school, she worked part-time, and while striving to secure her Associates and Bachelors of Arts degrees, she upped her hours to full-time.
Even though she was clearly on the path to reaching her goal of becoming a lawyer, it was a long road, and law school still seemed like a dream that she didn’t quite know how to turn into a reality. And by then, she already had an even bigger goal in mind: to one day become a judge. When Gloria shared her secret dream with her mom, she was met with a protective wall of doubt. Immediately her mother said, “Gloria, pon los pies sobre la tierra. Esas cosas no son para la gente como nosotros.” (Translation - Gloria, put your feet on the ground. Those things are not for people like us.) Gloria didn’t listen to this admonishment—deep down, she didn’t believe there was anything that “wasn’t for her.” Such a good reminder of what we need to tell ourselves, and everyone around us, especially our daughters.
There is so much more to share about Gloria and her life, so I encourage you to watch our interview to hear the rest of her story. I’m sure you’ll be as encouraged and inspired as I was, which is also part of the circle of inspiration. Since my talk with Gloria, I have been thinking about the multitude of people who have inspired me and hope I can inspire at least one person every day. I might not know who or how, but I can certainly try to make a difference every day, and so can you.