The Rio Grande, the river that defines the border of the United States and Mexico, stretches past the town of McAllen, Texas. This small town is in many ways a representation of many Texas border towns. Fewer than 8 percent of the population holds a college degree and nearly a quarter of the population currently lives in poverty. Recently, McAllen has become the epicenter of the national debate over immigration. Thousands of people from Central and South America have come to this city in search of asylum and escape from the increasing levels of violence and political oppression in their home countries. It is in McAllen where life began for Victor Flores, the president-elect of the Texas Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.
The son of Mexican migrant workers, Flores’s early years began in a modern-day Ellis Island, where grit, faith, hard work, and hope shaped his life experiences and ultimately set him on a course that would be filled with many difficult challenges and abundant opportunities. The challenges he faced easily reflect the experiences of so many people of color throughout this country. In many communities of color, attending college can seem like a distant and unattainable dream and the idea of pursuing a legal education is illusory. Yet, Flores’s story exemplifies why the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Men of Color Project is so desperately needed, now more than ever.