Chart the Course

 

Justice. In today’s political and social climate, it’s a topic that has been on many of our hearts and minds. And in my own life, God used it to chart the course of my career from a very early age.

As a child, I wanted to be a lot of things. At the top of the list was the sixth Spice Girl—a dream I held until my untimely discovery that singing was not one of my gifts. As luck would have it, that discovery was made in the midst of performing Christina Aguilera’s “Reflection” at a sixth-grade talent show. Fortunately, around that time, God began stirring my heart in a different direction.

That year, a book report led me to find my first social justice hero in Nelson Mandela—a lawyer who spent twenty-six years in prison because he chose to fight for racial equality; a lawyer who ultimately became South Africa’s first black president. To me, Mandela changed the world by changing the law. And I wanted to do the same.

Mandela’s story lit a fire in my soul, but God wasn’t done. The next year, my gifted teacher spent two semesters covering the Holocaust, and God broke my heart. To this day, I remember coming home from school in tears, saddened by the scale of suffering, angered by the magnitude of evil on one side and willful blindness on another, and frustrated by my own helplessness. But during that year, I found my second hero in Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who believed that the memory of past evils shields against future evil. So I embraced these lessons and clung to my heroes.

My heroes became the people who did something about the injustice they faced, who survived, and who told their stories.

The barrage continued as my history class delved into the horror of the slave trade, the American Civil War, and the chronicle of race relations in the United States. At the time, it often felt like too many horrors revealed all at once. But in shattering my ignorance, God moved me to action. My heroes became the people who did something about the injustice they faced, who survived, and who told their stories. In turn, they made me want to become someone who does something about injustice. So, at the age of 12, I resolved to become a lawyer. Thirteen years and three degrees later, that dream became a reality.

After law school, I spent two years working as a law clerk at the federal courthouse in Orlando. I learned so much about how justice is administered in our courts and, during that time, God revealed the next step—a path that would lead me to Washington D.C.

Next month, I will begin a position as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. Though I am sad to leave my Summit family, God’s call for my life has never felt stronger. During the Made For This series, Zach reminded us that what we do with our lives matters and that our work is something we are created for and called to. As I move forward, I am propelled by a call to work to effect justice—to literally act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. To me, the greatest disservice to that mission is to not take action where there is suffering. From the Pulse shooting, to the In Justice speaker series, and the response to the recent events in Charlottesville, I am proud to have been part of a church that does not shy away from these issues. And I am proud to do my part in serving my God and my country in that charge.

 

 

Soma Nwokolo has been around Summit for about two years now. She's off to Washington D.C. now, but she's left an impression on Summit through serving in Team Summer, as a Student Ministries volunteer, and in her Connect group.

 
Soma Nwokolo