My name is David Parsons. I am a low-income, first-generation soon-to-be college senior at San Francisco State University, majoring in Communications Studies and Business Administration. As a child, I spent time in the foster care system. My mother suffered and still suffers from drug and alcohol addiction. At nine years old, I was placed in foster care for four years. As high school came around, I moved back in with mom, but she soon relapsed. That Summer, she was shot in the back during a drive-by shooting in our neighborhood and once again grew reliant on drugs and alcohol to cope. This experience left her disabled. Needless to say, that time in our life left many lasting emotional challenges for both of us. Overcoming this was not easy, and to this day, I still have a lot to overcome. I am still processing the traumas I have experienced as a child. When I was young, I thought all I had experienced was normal. Not until I got older did I realize how crippling that trauma could be. Seeing other students of color like myself, succeeding in high school and college, was a reminder that I was deserving of an education and a better life. To this day, that thought has been my greatest motivation. I have grown a lot since that time in my life but living in the same neighborhood I grew up in has posed many obstacles. The most challenging being that I have seen many friends feel the negative impacts of gun and drug violence. Most of us are moving in opposite directions and at this time in life, I need uplifting energy around me.
Right now, my goal is to graduate with honors and to stay on the Dean’s List, as I have every semester at San Francisco State, even while dealing with medical issues. These short term goals are all achievable with your support. A huge motivation for continuing my education has been the birth of my niece and nephews. It is very important that they grow up seeing a Black man succeed.
I also have many dreams. I want to work on social impact and corporate social responsibility. I want to make corporate America more accessible to students of color, low-income students, and students with disabilities. This brings me to share one other thing I have had to work to overcome and heal from over the past few years. In 2018, after a year or so of chronic vision issues, I finally went to the doctor. It was there that I learned I had a progressive eye disorder, Keratoconus, that distorts the vision and damages the cornea. Leading to horrible vision issues. In 2019, I underwent two eye procedures for the disease. These were trying times and due to my vision issues, work and school became difficult, if not impossible. I persisted and healed. And with that healing process came a renewed sense of urgency to tackle and accomplish my goals. These included successes in my personal and professional life, and devoting more time to volunteering. I am proud to say that since high school I have been active at the community center in my building where I tutor middle school children in math and assist high school students with college applications. For some children, I am the only guidance they will receive. It is the least I can do to ensure no kid grows up like I did, without a support system.