When is the right time to say "thank you"?
Do you say it immediately after someone makes a nice gesture for you?
What about thanking someone in advance?
Can a simple thank you be implied rather than express?
Are there alternative words to use instead of simply saying thank you?
What if you forgot to say thank you during that exact moment, but you said Thank You in the future. Does that still count as a thank you?
I ask these questions because I’m beyond thankful for the life I have today.
I can’t remember each time I told someone thank you, whether it was helping me become the woman I am today or commonly wishing me the best on my journey.
As I reflect on my life, especially in the last three years, I would like to thank you.
First and foremost, thank you to God.
Thank you to my parents, siblings, immediate and extended family, friends, professors, pastors, mentors, and people who I met while passing by.
There isn’t a number I can use to truly express how thankful I am.
I am whom I am today because of you. I have excelled with grace, loved beautifully, smiled unapologetically, and remained humble.
I don’t know the correct way to express my sincere gratitude.
So, THANK YOU!
Dioni’ C. Stewart, J.D.
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The year 3567 was the year I had decided to become a lawyer. My name's Bobby, well most people call me by my last name, Styles. the reason? Well, because I had style, of course. I grew up in a Neo-like city; technology has become supreme, people are going bankrupt because robots are starting to take control of high-end jobs; it's rough out here. My reason for becoming a lawyer was pretty childlike; it was because my gramps showed me the game “Ace Attorney.” It was my favorite game growing up as it was the only way me and my father got along. I go to the University of Yale; you know, the 'top notch' school; I worked hard for it, going through so many hardships. The reason I'm telling you this was so I can get to this point, the day where it all started, where my life was going to take a huge turn.
It was a Monday. I already wanted to go to my dorm and just play video games, but today was special, well, hmm, more like different. My classroom had a different atmosphere. A tall man wearing a nice - I'd say a really expensive - suit was standing there. He announces, "Good morning maggots, I'm one of the three most top-notch lawyers in the world, Mr. P; I'm here to teach you about a really important Law subject." I sat up super quick with my eyes shining. Human lawyers were rare since robots have become the new wave, but one of the top lawyers in the world?! As I'm staring at him, two other men come up behind us with a huge metal pod. As they're bringing the pod out, Mr. P said: "Today, class, we're learning about Due Process. Settle down, I know you know what it is, and you may be wondering why it is even important." He said that was because due process became irrelevant after Julian v. Florida, which outlawed due process to an extent because the new renovation of technology is the reason due process isn't used in many new cases. Mr. P then says, "Well, I'm about to change your minds, all of you today, that due process is a very important subject and is very much needed in our society. How? Well, this new invention right here! It hasn't been released to the public, nor does the government know yet, but soon, soon a revolution will happen." As he smirks, he presses a bright red button to where a very loud bang is made, it was like being flash banged, but a more stronger sensation. Our eyes became blurred and all we saw was white. There we were; it wasn't in the classroom anymore; we were in 1865 Brooklyn. Mr. P introduces us again as everyone is surprised and scared, "Now, now, class, I know what it seems like, and yes, it is what it seems like, but I'm here to show you an important thing called Segregation." We sat there with blank faces; what does segregation have to do with this time? I raised my hand and asked, "what does the action of separating two objects have to do with the law field?" Mr. P laughs, "Well, Styles, great question! You're on the right track, but not necessarily, as segregation back then was the discrimination of blacks when whites were thinking they were superior." We all laughed since we knew that couldn't have been the case; no other race being superior was keen to us as we were unfamiliar with stuff like that. I then raised my hand again, "What does due process have to do with this as well, then?" Mr. P makes a straight face, "Well, you know how there was segregation, right? Since the whites thought they were superior, people of other races were treated unfairly, not only in everyday things, but also in court cases. At that time, I thought due process was dumb and idiotic, but when he said that, I realized maybe I was wrong.
Everywhere looked weird, it was old school; there were no flying cars, no smartphones, no bright lights. Mr. P brought us to a public bathroom, but it was different from what we had. There were two sections - one with a sign under "White" and another with the sign "Black" under. The white one was way fancier than the black one, and it was out of place, which bugged me. Mr. P asks the whole class, "Give me a raise of hands if you would choose the white bathroom over the black bathroom." Everyone raised their hands. He then takes us to a restaurant where it was heavily segregated, but it was like no one could see us. I asked, "Mr. P, why is it like we're invisible to them?" He answered, "Well, it's because we're in an image. Actually, we aren't actually in the year 1865 you see." We get to the tables where there is a dark-skinned fellow dining in the segregated area; the place was heavily crowded. The white man then comes up and says, "Hey, kindly give up your seat, or there will be problems, got it?" In response, the man says no and ignores him. The man gets angry and pours water on the man and throws a punch at him; the other man gets up and starts throwing punches at the white man where two white officers then tackle him. I started yelling at the officers, "Hey! You should be getting the white man. He's the one who instigated the fight." It was no use. "Give up; they can't hear us." said Mr. P. "Now, class, did you get a grasp of what it was like back then? Everything segregated." Everyone nodded; some girls in the back were exclaiming how it was fake; I was heated. How could they have let something like this happen?! "Alright, class, today you're going to be handling your very first court case!" Everyone stood there shocked with their mouths open; I was smiling so hard waiting for this day to happen. Mr. P then goes, "Okay, I'll be telling you what we're dealing with, so, remember how I mentioned due process? Well, due process is going to be heavily needed throughout this case. Good luck students, you're going to need it." We all rushed to the court, meeting our defendant, jurors, accuser, and witness. Our defendant was the dark-colored man from the bar earlier. He sat in the chair with a worried look on his face. The Judge called everyone to settle down and to start the arraignment. There, our client was told of his charges before being escorted to give his plea. We were then called again to attend the preliminary hearing, and this was one of our biggest obstacles as we had to face unfair trials. This angered me as the Judge was totally biased. The prosecutor then stepped up, giving unlawful words to our client, disgracing his race, which left our class shocked. The prosecutor then brought out evidence, which was ripped cloth, blood-stained rags, glass, and more things found at the crime scene. I had no words to provide during the preliminary hearing, which made me fear that our client's life was at risk because of the unfair system back then. After hours of sitting through the grueling atmosphere, the hearing ended. Days later, our class went through the biggest obstacle, the trial.
My class and Mr. P had decided for me to be the leading and main defense attorney in the case due to my high grades. My best friend, Landon Fair, was also elected to be my partner in this case. My friend and I sat in a room just contemplating what to do; we talked about the situation and any possible situations when my friend suggested we visit the man. We went to the prison holding our client; his name was Jacob. He was a calm and collected man, the type of man you see on the street wearing suits. When we talked to Jacob, I could sense the fear in his voice. I asked why he was so scared. He replied, "Styles, do you know what they'll do to me? My color is what'll be my consequence. I'm scared dude. They will not have any mercy on me." I didn't understand. What would be so different than what happens nowadays? The day of the trial, I was getting nervous; I finally got to have a client. It's been my dream to be on this battlefield called the courthouse. Mr. P walks up to me and says, "Look, son, don't forget the main reason we came here for, it'll be a really big help." Fair and I walked into the courthouse to our table where the defendant sat. I see the jury members; they look interesting. One girl was smiling at me from the far right - I blushed. The judge orders everyone to sit down as he starts the trial. I take a huge breath and introduce myself and the client. As I walk up front, I can feel the stares of everyone and the tension; it made me shudder. As I walked by, I caught a glimpse of the accuser and the prosecutor; they looked angry at me.
The prosecutor then gets up and states, "you see our accuser, a well honorary citizen, no criminal records, he has nothing compared to the criminal, Mr. P, a disgusting man who harmed my client; he has a nasty criminal record known for violence." I was ready to get up and throw punches at the prosecutor. Still, Landon tugged me to keep cool. I yelled out "objection!" as I always wanted to just like Ace from Ace Attorney. I felt so cool. I walk up and explain, "Well judge, our client here may have a bad record. Still, with the witness accounts, they've stated that Jacob was calm the whole time. He ate and wasn't disturbing anyone. It was more like the accuser is who instigated the situation." The prosecutor got mad. Still, the Judge let it slide. I sat back down. The prosecutor then went up and gave the evidence to the Judge. "As you see, we gathered the fingerprints from the ripped cloth. It's shown that Jacob has torn our client's shirt and beat my client up with no remorse." "Object!" I said out loud, "You're forgetting some mitigating factors that your client has started this whole situation, should that be able to prove my client guilty?!" The Judge looked at me, the prosecutor then exclaimed, "No sir! Do you see your client compared to my client? Of course not! My client is far more superior and deserved the top-notch treatment." I remembered due process, perfect! "Well, well, have you forgotten something? Due process!! The year 1215, when the manga carts were established, is fair treatment through the judicial system, also known as human right entitlement!" The prosecutor was stunned; he had no idea what to say. Before I could say any more, the trial had come to a stop. It was time for the verdict. Everything that had been anticipated up to that moment, I have waited for. We were all brought to the court, where the tension was high. I was sweating too much, and my legs started shaking; I was excited and scared. I couldn't wait. The Judge let out a deep breath, "in this court case, the jury members have decided that… the defendant is not guilty!" I let out a huge sigh; there was yelling, cheering, angry murmurs. We did it; we beat the case!
Mr. P came up to me, "Do you get it now? The importance of Due process?" I replied, "Yes sir, with this sir, due process will revive and be revolutionary!" I smirked; I was one step closer to becoming a lawyer. We were teleported back to where everyone started cheering me and Landon on; it was a huge day. Now, I'm one of the biggest lawyers in the country. Ever since that day, the law field has changed and has become even more unprejudiced.
Copyright Julian Becerril 2021.
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Joseline J. Hardrick is the Founder and President of Diversity Access Pipeline, Inc. She is also an author, professor, and lawyer and resides in Tampa Bay, Florida. Guest bloggers are students in the Journey to Esquire® Scholarship & Leadership Program.