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Conversations with the Inspiring Anne Rios

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anne Rios.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Anne. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a native San Diegan, who was raised in Southeast San Diego. I left to attend college at UC Berkeley and moved back to pursue my law degree at California Western. My career has revolved around public service, first, working at the local rape crisis center representing hundreds of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Now, I advocate alongside homeless individuals to end criminalization of the poor through criminal defense an impact litigation.

Having grown up in Southeast, I was able to see the large discrepancy that exists between underserved communities, primarily comprised of poor people and/or communities of color. Currently, working with Think Dignity allows me to continue to see the persecution and disproportionate negative effects to these same communities. I am able to cultivate my passion as executive director to help create a more equitable society.

Has it been a smooth road?
My journey has not been a smooth road.

I am a first generation college student, which means I had to learn everything from how to apply to a college, how to apply for financial aid, and how to navigate the entire higher learning system by myself. I don’t think that people understand how daunting that can be to a young woman. Not to mention a young woman of color that is entering a prestigious university where not a lot of people look like you, come from a place that you come from or sound like you. My advice would be for young women, in any situation, to remember, constantly, that they are magic.

I was also a younger mother. My son was a year old when I started law school. Instead of deterring me, it gave me a reason for what I was studying and what I wanted my legacy to be. I am less interested in money and more interested in change. My advice for young parents: never apologize for bringing your child to school. You pay tuition like everyone else and every part of you deserves to be present and learn.

Lastly, as a young professional in an executive position, I have learned that my presence at the table matters. I unapologetically speak my mind in all situations. Our voice is needed and creates a diverse outlook that otherwise may not be present. My advice for young professionals trying to carve their way at the table is: lean in, speak up, interrupt the system, and don’t apologize for you taking up space.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Think Dignity story. Tell us more about the business.
I joined the Think Dignity Staff in 2016, as Executive Director and Managing Attorney. As Executive Director I oversee the daily management of Think Dignity, including the Transitional Storage Center, and is in charge of obtaining grants, fundraising, events, maintaining Think Dignity relationships with constituents, donors, members, and sponsors. In my role as Managing Attorney, I oversee the Legal Referral and Advocacy Clinic, the Know Your Rights campaign, direct litigation programs, and works alongside local law schools in order to further expand the legal clinic volunteer base.

Prior to coming on board at Think Dignity, I served as a managing attorney; representing hundreds of sexual assault, domestic violence, and elder abuse victims in her past positions with the San Diego Family Justice Center Foundation and the Center for Community Solutions. In addition, I have worked for the Department of Defense as a Certified Level II Sexual Assault Victim Advocate for the US Navy. My passion lies in being an advocate for marginalized populations. My passion can best be seen with the program she founded: Uprise Theatre, a project that teaches inner city populations about the law and their constitutional rights.

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Yes, my favorite author is Toni Morrison. Her work is phenomenal and inspires me to always push myself and be a better writer. I have just started listening to podcasts and love Codeswitch by NPR.

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Think Dignity

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