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Last updated: 2004
Luz’s attorney describes her as, “not only a survivor; she is the model of strength in overcoming adversity…Despite unbelievable odds, Luz has managed to rise above the mire of depravity and violence that dominated the early years of her life. She has persevered and emerged a resilient, articulate, hard-working and immensely compassionate young woman.” As a child, Luz lived under the shadow of family violence, neglect, and constant disruptions in her schooling as a result of her home life. A tragic turn of events involving the murder of two siblings forced Luz and her five siblings into the foster care system. Despite surviving such an ordeal, Luz has turned her tragedy into a determination to succeed and to keep her siblings intact as a family.
Throughout their six years in foster care, Luz’ brothers and sisters have managed to remain together in the same household. The fact that her siblings have not been torn apart is credited to Luz’s quiet strength and determination to keep the family intact. She managed to stave off the foster system’s attempt to have the two youngest twin children adopted out of the family. As her attorney noted, “She was articulate and strong. She never complained about her role in protecting her siblings. This is not a burden-but her responsibility out of love. She was not going to allow any one to destroy what was left of her family.”
Despite these upheavals, Luz has managed to stay focused on her schooling. In addition to being her siblings’ protector, she is a hard-working young woman who is excelling in school. The Children’s Defense Fund is inspired by her strength and commitment and proudly recognizes her as a 2004 Beat the Odds® honoree.