Liberian Born US Citizen Prince Murray Narrates how the Effect of Liberia Civil War Hampers his Primary Education in Liberia

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Arizona, USA – Prince Murray at the age of 12 was in the second grade at the Fatima Elementary School in Harper, Maryland County when he and his older sister traveled to the United States to reconnect with their mother after being separated for many years due to Liberia’s 14 years of civil war that took away the lives of many including his older brother.

Murray, like many kids during the Liberian Civil War, was denied their basic fundamental right of going to school. Many schools especially in the rural areas were closed because of the constant attacks by faction groups.

Explaining his ordeal, Murray told FrontPage Africa that life during his early days was unbearable. At age of 12, he became a breadwinner for his family by selling in the marketplaces in Harper City, Maryland County.

Like many street kids, he was prevented from going to school for several years as he was seen selling to put food on the table for his family.

“I could not go to school because I had to go to the market to sell donuts, kerosene, used clothes, and other items to support his family. That is why I stopped in second grade,” Murray said.

He added: “I and my sister and I later moved to Tabou, Ivory Coast, and lived in a refugee camp before relocating to Abidjan, to start our immigration process. Living in the refugee camp was a difficult thing to do.”

In 2006, before Murray and his older sister could join their mother in the US, he had only completed 2nd grade in Liberia due to the war. Because of his age, he was enrolled in 8th grade at a middle school in the United States.

“This means I missed 3rd to 7th grade and started school from the 8th grade in the United States,” he told FPA.

Murray added: “I could not understand a word from the teacher because I lacked the foundation due to my limited years of schooling in Liberia.”

Murray performed poorly especially in English, reading, and Math could not make him graduate in 2011 as he was told by his guidance counselor that he failed to pass the Arizona Instruments to Measure (AIM) Standards on his sixth try.

The test was passed by the Arizona State Legislature in 2006, requiring all high school students from grade 10th to meet satisfactory progress to receive their high school diploma.

“I cried and felt hopeless because my friends were graduating and planning on going to college and I could not,” he said.

Murray added: “I wanted to give up but my mentor for nine years and father figure Professor Togba Goe and others encouraged me to never give up on my dream of completing high school and becoming a lawyer.” 

And in 2013, Murray took the AIM test nine times before he passed in reading, writing, and math in 2013.

“In 2013, I passed all three portions of the AIMS test on my 9th try and obtained my high school diploma in December with a 2.3 GPA,” he said.

Despite the long stay in grade school, his passion for higher education grew stronger. In 2014 he got enrolled at Glendale Community College in Arizona and started with intermediate classes based on his grade point and placement test.

During his first semester, he was outstanding in his lessons. He applied for an honors program and was accepted.

Thereafter, in 2018, he graduated with an Associate of Arts and General Studies degree from Glendale Community College Honors Program with 3.6 (G.P.A).

“On May of 2021, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude in Political Science from Barrett, the prominent honors college in the United States,” he said.

Murray wrote and defended an honor thesis titled the Improbable Journey of Liberians on Temporary Protected Status, Deferred Enforced Departure, and the Liberian Relief Immigration Fairness Act signed into law by former President Donald J. Trump. His thesis was approved and has been published in several journals in the US.

Murray Serves as Legislative Interim Based on his performance in education Murray was nominated by his former Political Science professor Therese Desai as the first student from the Maricopa Community College District to attend the Fund for American Studies Program.

Murray serves as Legislative Interim in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. for the Honorable Ruben Gallego, currently representing Arizona 7th Congressional District.  

It was an 8-weeks summer program that brought some of the nation’s brightest students from all 50 states to intern at various government institutions in Washington, D.C. and take courses at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Murray Worked with Secretary Hilary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign Team

 As an interim on Capitol Hill, Murray took up a one year off school break as he was asked to work on the campaign team of the former US Presidential Candidate Hilary Clinton.

“In 2016, I took the year off from school and was hired to work on Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign,” he narrated.

Murray: “I worked as a field Organizer for the Ohio Democratic Party in coordination with Secretary Hillary Clinton’s 20216 Presidential Campaign.”

As a Field Organizer for the Ohio Democratic Party, Murray was instrumental in Hillary Clinton’s 20216 Presidential Campaign. He recruited volunteers and worked with different student-based organizations and organized events on behalf of the campaign.

Serving Liberian Community in the US

Murray has also contributed immensely to the Liberian Community in the US. He served as president of the Liberian Association of Arizona Youth Leadership Council Executive Board from 2019-2021.

Murray also serves as Director of Outreach and Recruitment for the National Political Science Society student organization at Arizona State University in Temp, Arizona.

“I served two years as the youngest youth president and under my leadership, we established the LAA Youth Leadership Council Executive Board,” he said.

He also serves as an Interim vice president, and the Liberian’s community was able to partner with the Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha Law Group to provide pro bono consultation to Liberians on issues relating to immigration, criminal, and civil rights. His team visited Liberians in jail or in Immigration custody on deportation.

He added: “During my stay in the United States, I’ve worked and volunteered on Political campaigns from President to state representatives, and from mayor to City Council Officials.”

A Recipient of Awards

Murray’s contribution in the United States of America politics and community has made him receive numerous recognitions from academia to politics including the United States Presidential Volunteer Service Award from former President Barack Obama in 2012.

Murray was the first student in his community college district to receive the Maricopa Community College Chancellor’s Civic Leadership Medallion award with high distinction from Dr. Rufus Glasper, his former chancellor.

“In 2021, I received the United States Congressman Ed Pastor Civic Leadership Service Medallion from Alberto Olivas, Executive Director of the Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service and Community Solutions at Arizona State University,” he narrated.

In 2017, former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and current United States Congressman from Arizona 9th Congressional District invited Murray to the State of the City Address as a Special Guest where he was recognized for his tremendous impact in school, and the community. 

Murray has spoken to various high schools’ classes in Arizona and served as keynote speaker three different times at Linda Abril Educational Academy High school graduation. According to Murray, he has his sights set on attending Yale or Harvard Law School to obtain his Juris doctor in law specializing in criminal, immigration, and civil rights cases.

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