Photo: Sheng Peng

Stephnie Anabelle J.

Sri Lanka-USA

25, Law Student
Washington, DC

My parents are two of the thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils who left Sri Lanka to escape persecution during its three decade-long civil war. My father left Sri Lanka and immigrated to Canada in 1983. His house was one of many bombed during “Black July” of 1983, killing my grandmother and wounding my uncle. My mother later joined my father in Canada once they were engaged to marry.

Why did your family come to the United States? My parents sacrificed everything, from proximity to family to their finances, all in order to give my sister and myself the best opportunities they could imagine: education, prosperity, and freedom.

What would the U.S. be missing out on if you or your people were banned? A lawyer-in-training passionate about improving access and affordability of healthcare in America, with a penchant for early 20th century American literature, the Pacific Ocean, and 90s dance parties.