Josiah Lara

Photo of Gonzaga Law student and Thomas More Scholar Josiah Lara 

“Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”
 - G. K. Chesterton

Growing up in Valleyford, Washington in a family of fifteen was an experience unlike most: I could identify who was at the community church based off of what car was in the parking lot, 
and if I ever wanted to play a game of kickball, I had several siblings at the ready. Living in a community where everyone was considered family, I had constant support and felt like I could conquer anything. 

As the fifth oldest in my family, when I graduated high school, my youngest sibling had not even started kindergarten. So when deciding what college to go to, I wanted to stay local so I could be a part of her life as she went through elementary school. 

I was blessed to have been a part of the Act Six program during my time at Gonzaga University. Act Six is a scholarship initiative that helps individuals develop their leadership skills so they can return to their home communities and make a difference. Gonzaga follows the Ignatian pedagogy, cura personalis, which means “care for the entire person.” Thus, while at Gonzaga, I was involved in numerous student organizations that gave me the space to apply my academics, express my spirituality, and grow not only as a leader but as an individual. 

Upon graduation, I decided to take a gap year and do a year of service through AmeriCorps. Although I thought about leaving Spokane, I knew there were injustices prevalent at home. I learned the importance of self-care in undergrad and how impossible it is to pour from an empty cup. I wanted to make sure Spokane was at its best before I left to help another community. Therefore, I accepted a position at Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest, a non-profit organization fighting the fight against hunger. Every week, my team went into local schools to distribute food to families in need and provided cooking classes to youth at the local Boys and Girls Clubs.

While the work I was doing at Second Harvest was meaningful and helping families in need, I knew that I can do more. That is why I want to obtain my Juris Doctor. I want my work to leave a lasting impact and attack the roots of an issue. As a future lawyer, I hope to utilize my knowledge of the law to seek out and eliminate systemic injustices. The amount of influence held within the justice system is so great that any decision can affect millions of lives for decades—even centuries. The Thomas More program provides a new space to grow and learn with other community-oriented individuals, and I am beyond honored to be a part of it.

I want to make a difference in the lives of others and set them up for success. I believe that with a law degree, I can help make Spokane a community where everyone feels supported and can conquer anything.