Wednesday, January 8, 2020

URSP Student Renata Urbina De La Flor Investigates the Impact of Healthcare and Education Costs on Poverty

During the 2018 fall semester I took INTS 300: Law and Justice, a course which taught students how to read Supreme Court cases and better understand the law. One of the cases we read was San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez(1973), a case on wealth inequality and equal opportunity to education for the poor. Our professor asked us “what would the U.S. be like today if the Court had sided with Rodriguez and protected wealth?”. She told us that things like health care and education would be free. Her commentary made me curious to know more about the legal status of wealth so that I could base my arguments on facts instead of beliefs or opinions.

The goal of my research project is to change the current perspective of the law on poverty—as of right now, in the United States, discriminating against the poor is legal. I would like to one day have a book on wealth inequality which would explain all the ways in which the current system structurally discriminates against the poor citizens of the United States. Once having received my B.S. degree from George Mason University, I hope to continue my studies at law school. There, I plan to continue my research and find methods to reduce discrimination against the poor. In the future, my goal is to have a business law firm with the purpose of supporting individuals in creating and protecting their own business—I believe that owning your own business, not only supports the economy, but also connects the individual to the economy and to the society.

During the week, I spend an average of 49 hours between reading legal cases, books from social and economic theorists, watching TEDx talks, and organizing all the work I have collected—since I am using similar materials and resources for my capstone project, I am constantly reading and analyzing material on wealth inequality. Conducting my research has made me aware of many things and of many theorists I did not know of before—theorists like Dr. Cornel West, a theorist who has amazing work on the American society and on social movements. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to conduct my own independent research at GMU and am excited to see where it takes me.