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Another One...

Beginnings can be hard, you never know the individual circumstances of anyone who is starting their new "beginning".

For me, my beginning in this law program started with the loss of our mother from COVID-19. Unfortunately, while still grieving the loss of our brother who passed from alcoholism just nine months prior. My beginning looked like holding hands with my sister covering her on her healing journey and going from one inpatient facility to another, transferring to outpatient services, and advocating for her health while she endured medical bias. Holding hands with my sister and walking her through her trauma from being taken, held hostage, and rescued taught me more about myself and how I need to show up in spaces for my relatives who are still waiting to be rescued #MMIW. There is a heavy and beautiful light we carry as Indigenous people to this land. We are those who survived and I am proud of my relatives who are on their path to healing and recovering out loud; we need you healed and whole, family. This is a lot, right? I was still navigating my full-time position with the National Criminal Justice Training Center spearheading the Emmett Till Cold Case Investigations Project, planning and executing Zen to Amen Wellness Retreats (Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Mexico), managing the Social Roots Foundation, preparing, fundraising, and executing ATTITUDE 2022 and 2023, oh yeah and my personal life as well! My partner and I decided after almost two years of couples therapy to take steps forward into our new life, which included the extreme highs and extreme lows of blending a family and step-parenting; this is going into our podcast, stay tuned! All while navigating my own mental health, suffering from extreme social anxiety and paranoia after being held at gunpoint by an elderly white woman in broad daylight on Juneteenth 2020, just weeks after Breona Taylor was murdered. Honestly, my life has never been easy and this is a glimpse of the events that have transpired in the last two to three years. What I have come to realize is, there are so many wild incidents that occur in our lives and are simply out of our control. The most important thing we can do is to manage our reactions to the situation and manage our expectations of others. I share my personal trials with you to give you a glimpse into my life, as you can see it is far away from perfect! But with a great support system, patience, love, grace, and plenty of non-stop prayers, all things are possible to get through with FAITH and GOD.

It is with deep gratitude, honor, and love that I accept my last and final degree, Master of Legal Studies with an emphasis on Federal Indian Law and Conflict Resolution from Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law Arizona State University. Now please, in my best HOV voice, "Allow me to reintroduce myself!!" Roicia Banks, MSW, MLS

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