“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands
where you have been, accepts what you have become,
and still, gently allows you to grow.”  

– William Shakespeare

Marlysha Myrhtil '00

Marlysha Myrthil, a Civil Rights Division Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, is an inspiration to all of us here at St. Joseph High School. SJHS was not on her high school list, but her parents, Haitian immigrants, thought it was a good fit. It was also more affordable than other schools, especially with a scholarship, a crucial consideration with seven children behind her. “It turned out to be an early example of a time when I didn’t get what I wanted, but what I got worked out much better for me,” says a grateful Myrthil. Now an attorney in the Justice Department, she dates her interest in social justice issues to her high school years. “There was a lot of public discourage then about civil rights, with all the news about Elian Gonzalez, Abner Louima, and Amadou Diallo,” Myrthil recalls. “I realized that there is a prevalent injustice in the world that has to be addressed, especially as it relates to people of color and to poor people. As a product of both, it hit close to home.” She explored those issues in discussions with teachers and as an editor for the school newspaper, then majored in political science and human rights studies at Barnard College before going on to law school at Notre Dame. Her experience at an all-girls school and a woman’s college “gave me a real sense of confidence,” says Myrthil. “I never feel uncomfortable being the only woman in a room or the only person of color in a room. And I never have trouble speaking up for myself.”