After almost three years at Harvard Law School, Chanda Brown is glad to be back home in Virginia and the D.C. metropolitan area. Brown decided to undertake her successful pursuit of a J.D. degree after working for eight years with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the Department of Defense. To help her afford law school, Brown applied for and received a Point Foundation Scholarship, which provides financial support, mentoring, and leadership development for LGBTQ students seeking a higher education degree.
During her time at the DoD and at Harvard, Brown was fully open with her supervisors, professors, and peers about being part of the LGBTQ community. Ahead of starting a new position next month in D.C. with a prestigious international law firm, Brown and her wife are enjoying time with their newborn daughter.
What advice would you give to other LGBTQ young professionals?
Being honest about one’s sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace can be difficult, but it is important to bring your authentic self to work. It is also important to the LGBTQ community to show the full diversity of the rainbow in our various careers. I would encourage LGBTQ young professionals to be brave and be bold. Do not be afraid to put your LGBTQ activities on your resume and to speak openly about how you identify. I proudly put that I was a member of Lambda at Harvard Law on my resume and found a law firm that embraces me as a professional and as an LGBTQ person. That said, being out at work is a personal decision. Whatever you choose, make sure it is the right decision for you.
You recently moved to Virginia from Massachusetts. Have you found a supportive community in Virginia?
It’s great to be home and return to my old community at the Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia (MCC NOVA). The church is a welcoming and affirming progressive spiritual community with specific outreach to LGBTQ people and allies who are seeking authentic spirituality and renewal through educational and social enrichment opportunities, social justice work, and communal celebrations. MCC NOVA has welcomed me back as an LGBTQ person, a parent, and a spiritual person.
You and your wife are new moms. Tell us about it.
Being a new mom is wonderful and exhausting all at the same time. Not only am I learning and relearning things about my child as she grows, but I am learning new things about myself and my wife. We are all growing together.
What was it like to be a Point Foundation Scholar?
I am so proud to be a 2015 Point Foundation scholar and now a Point Alum. Being a part of Point Foundation means being part of a vibrant community of LGBTQ scholars, activists, and just all-around amazing people. Once you are a Point Scholar, you are part of the Point Family for life. That gives me comfort knowing that even if I ever face the challenge of being one of the few LGBTQ persons in my law field, I know that I won’t be alone.
Chanda is one of several Point Foundation scholars and alumni who are planning to attend the Thursday, September 6 “Taste of Point” event in Washington D.C. For more information and tickets visit https://pointfoundation.org/DC2018