Raquel Bracho, a third-year UM Carey Law student, has been selected by the White House as a Champion for Change, an honor given to individuals for their extraordinary public service. (See also a related story about Prof. Michael Pinard, who was also selected as a Champion of Change).
Bracho was one of 11 students nominated for the award by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation's Latinos On Fast Track Institute (LOFT). In addition to meeting with White House officials, she participated with a group of 50 other students from across the country in LOFT's two-day intensive leadership program, which provided training in fundraising, marketing and project management. Her profile and blog post will appear on the White House Champions for Change web site.
Bracho is currently on the board of the Maryland Law Service Corps, a pro bono legal immersion program that provides free legal services to the poor and underrepresented on the Gulf Coast. As the winner of an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, she designed and directs a program that uses creative writing, résumé writing and other activities to reduce stress and improve the health of the uninsured served by the Joy Wellness Center at Shepherd's Clinic in Baltimore.
Bracho, who was raised by a single mom in Fairfax County, VA, just outside of Washington, DC, has been involved in helping others since high school, when she performed more than 150 hours of community service to earn an International Baccalaureate diploma. Later, as a sophomore at Johns Hopkins, a rally on the Mall protesting attempts to abolish affirmative action showed her the value of social advocacy.
"I realized what it was like to get a bunch of people together and communicate a message, and how powerful that is," she told The Washington Post.
Bracho went on to form a community service-oriented sorority at Hopkins and to teach Baltimore high school students about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and illegal drugs.
Bracho is enthusiastic about her law school experience. It has helped integrate her advocacy, writing and people skills, she says, and, with her concentration in Health Law, she's already working as a fellow for the general counsel of Dimensions Hospital System.