Tamar E. Hodges was just starting law school when Ferguson, the town she grew up in, became a household name. Her participation in activism and protests did not detract from her ability to reach the Dean’s List at the University of Missouri School of Law while also working as a nurse at a hospital.
What are your proudest career accomplishments?
If I could choose only one then it would be graduating from college as a single mother. Statistically speaking my odds of graduating from high school let alone college as a teen parent were low.
What inspired you to get involved in the public service or justice system?
As a poor black female raised in North St. Louis County I did not benefit from privilege — and I still do not in certain aspects — so I learned early on the importance of public services, specifically those geared toward people with a lower socioeconomic status. I decided long ago that I would give back to my community through public service.
What is something that would surprise people about you?
I lived and attended school in Ferguson and participated in the Mike Brown protests; I have been a registered nurse since 2011 and continue to work at a local hospital while pursuing my law degree; I am a single mother of a 9-year-old son who is in third grade.
What is the best advice you have ever been given or received?
The best advice I continuously receive is being told that as a black woman I have to work twice as hard as anyone else if I want to succeed. I impart this knowledge on the young black women I mentor as well because I have experienced the truthfulness of this first-hand.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
Growing up I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I always admired my teachers and wanted to emulate them. However when I had the opportunity to participate in mock trial during high school our team coach, Judge Jimmie Edwards, inspired me to become a lawyer because at the time he was the only black person I personally knew who had attended law school.
What has been your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of law school has been competing in advocacy-based competitions because advocacy comes natural for me. I am a natural-born leader with the ability to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.