Sandra was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States as a young child. She grew up in Southern California and is the middle child of a family of 11. She and her husband, worked hard to raise their children well. They have four children and two grandchildren. Sandra has extensive experience in marketing and graphic design. She is fluent in Spanish and uses her bilingual skills in both her professional life and within non-profit organizations whenever the need arises. Tragedy devastated her and her family with the homicide of her 21-year old son; which took place in April of 2004, by her sister’s boyfriend, a 2-strike felon and gang member. Adding to their horrific loss, the killer was a fugitive for ten taunting months and when he was finally arrested and tried by a jury, the tragedy mounted by a shocking acquittal. Sandra found herself in a tormented state for months, until confronted with a choice that had to be made in order to survive her son’s death and once again be the mom she needed to be for her surviving children. Shortly after the acquittal; her family moved across the country in fear of their own safety. Through the frustrating and painful experience during the criminal trial, she found herself compelled to help other victims needing a linguistic resource, and determined to help make a difference, she now works as an independent interpreter. She is a Victims' Advocate for North Carolina Gang Investigators' Association (NCGIA) and volunteers with local grief support groups. Through public speaking and with efforts to provide hope and encouragement to bereaved individuals suffering the death of a loved one, Sandra endeavors to bring awareness about the aftermath of violent crimes. In addition, she believes it’s important to be proactive and work to gain ground in the areas of gang and domestic violence prevention. _________________________ *I received an email signed by Dr. Gloria Horsley (the email address was from Heather Johnson) offering me the opportunity to write for Open to Hope Foundation. _________________________ *The article I have attached for review is the most recent one I did for Serve2Unite, an online magazine. This is for an organization combating violent extremism.
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