When Andrew Murphy was a senior in college, his 16-year-old cousin, Ben, committed suicide. Ben had attended the same high school as Andrew and encountered the same bullying that Andrew had as a student there. After Ben’s death, Andrew felt guilty that he had not been there to guide his cousin through those difficult times in high school. It was this loss that drove him to drop his post-graduate business school plans and apply to Teach For America, where he could mentor young students.
For Andrew, it is important for students to be presented with role models and examples that they can aspire to be like.
“They need to see people who look like them active in our country’s leadership. Unfortunately, politics and elected leadership are not reflective of our tremendous demographic diversity. My vision for ending educational inequity, then, is to assist people of color and all underrepresented groups in claiming positions of power, for themselves and their communities.”
Today, Andrew spends his free time involved in his local community by attending neighborhood council meetings, volunteering for political campaigns, and staying informed about local issues. Since attending the Asian Pacific Islander American Diversity in Public Leadership Series, Andrew has even partnered with other LEE members to lay the ground roots for an organization uniting local APIA educators who want to study the existing environment and affect change.
“The real impact I am having comes in the conversations I am having with local students and families about their daily school realities. From collecting those stories, I hope our coalition can form tangible, actionable policies that we can be presented to elected leaders and future candidates.”
Andrew has also attended LEE's Lead to Serve and the People of Color Political Leadership Program in order to learn more about what it takes for people like him to serve in policy, advocacy and political leadership roles. To him, his time at all three programs far exceeded his expectations and served as a watershed moment.
“I cannot understate how meaningful and uplifting it was to join rooms of underrepresented peoples uniting in personal and professional solidarity for political change. These trainings provide me with the skills necessary to widen my impact.”
Andrew Murphy served as a Teach for America corps member in the Las Vegas Valley in 2009.