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Margie Pizarro: Single Mother of Four and 3L at Charleston School of Law, Charleston, SC [By Rebecca Unzicker] Having had the “golden rule” taught to her at an early age, Margie Pizarro holds the values of fairness and equity in high regard…so much so that when she saw a Court TV special about a South Carolina man who had been on death row for 20 years although many believed he was not guilty, she immediately decided to do what she could to help the man’s attorney obtain a new trial.

“When I saw this case, I thought, ‘Gosh, I’m going to help that attorney get that man off death row, save his life,’” Pizarro said. A public school teacher at the time and a single mother of four, Pizarro applied to law school and began to volunteer in the attorney’s office during the Christmas holidays and summer vacation. “This was my first experience in a law office,

Q. What do you do for fun? A. I enjoy spending time with my children and family and friends! I love to cook (and eat!), and I am always ready to try a new recipe as well as a new restaurant! Q. What CD is in your CD player right now? A. In my CD player, I am alternating between contemporary gospel artists William Murphy, III, and Israel Houghton and New Breed. In my cassette player (yes, I have one in my car), I am listening to

and it solidified my desire to get a law

The Best of Roberta Flack.

degree,” Pizarro said.

Q. What is the last magazine you read? A. I read the online versions of TIME and People-TIME when I want to keep up with the “real world” and People when I want to keep up with the celebrity’s version of the “real world.”

Now a third-year law student at Charleston School of Law, Pizarro will graduate in May as a member of the new school’s first graduating class. Considering the study of law to be “empowering,” Pizarro said working in the lives of others is something she has always wanted to do.

“Being able to help someone make a fresh start and become a productive and contributing member of society is what I was created to do!” Pizarro said. Despite her enthusiasm, law school has not been without its challenges. A full-time mother with a part-time job, Pizarro struggles to find time for the amount of work required.

Q. What is your favorite TV show? A. My favorite TV shows are The Big Valley and Bonanza. We only had one TV in our home when I was growing up, so we always had to watch what my mother wanted to watch, and she loved westerns. Today, I watch all those westerns by choice, and even though we have more than one TV in the house, my children are just as hooked as I am! Q. What is something most people don’t know about you? A. Most people don’t know that I am a wedding coordinator and an usher at my church, Lord of the Harvest Christian Faith Center. I also have a secret desire to be a singer on our praise team. I really want to audition, and I am secretly hoping that you can get by with a “desire to sing” more so than “a really good singing voice.” I’m probably wrong!

“I wake up some mornings, and I just want to say, ‘Forget it! This is too hard! I am too tired!’” Pizarro said. “Then I think about all of those people that I would let down if I don’t finish this program.” Striving to be a role model to her children, Pizarro also thinks about people who are “similarly situated” and looking for an example of someone who persevered and found success. A former fifth-grade teacher, Pizarro said she often told her students that she also experienced living in poverty and living in a single-parent home.

“I lived the same thing,” she said. “You can’t tell me a story that’s going to be that shocking to me. And because of the fact that I have experienced it, grew past it, and have gained some semblance of success, you can do the same thing. Everything is possible.” Pizarro’s many activities include involvement in student organizations such as the Black Law Students Association and the Moot Court Board. She has planned or assisted in the implementation of activities including the Reception for Minority Lawyers and Judges, Minority Law Day for Middle and High School Students, volunteer work at Crisis Ministries Shelter, and mentoring at local public schools.

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“Before the meal was served, one of the

That was such an awesome moment, and

shelter organizers asked for a volunteer to

it strengthened my resolve to use my law

bless the meal. A little boy no older than

degree in ways that would help others.”

four years old raised his hand to volunteer to pray, and boy did he say a prayer! He prayed

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for the food and for the volunteers who Of her many activities, a recent experience volunteering in a homeless shelter’s soup kitchen is perhaps her favorite of her law school career. “We were preparing and serving food to the women and children who were living in the shelter, and there were about 70 people waiting in line to be fed for the evening,” Pizarro said.

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made the food and for the shelter and for the

Charleston School of Law

people ‘who made’ the shelter.”

www.charlestonlaw.org

Pizarro said she was “beyond tears.”

National Black Law Students Association www.nblsa.org

“I realized at that moment the importance of small, random acts of kindness. Even

Crisis Ministries Shelter

that small boy recognized the enormous

charlestonhomeless.org

value in doing something to help another, and he acknowledged his gratefulness.


Margie Pizarro: Single Mother of Four and 3L at Charleston School of Law, Charleston, SC