40 Stories for 40 Years: Aaliyah Miranda

by Emily Roberts | Apr 18, 2018

Aaliyah Miranda was born in Mexico and came to Dallas when she was 16. She married right after high school and stayed in the abusive relationship for eight years before reaching out for help. In 2000, she came to The Family Place’s emergency shelter with no money or job skills. She and her two sons stayed at the shelter for 30 days and then applied for our transitional housing program where they stayed for three months.

A year later, her ex-husband sued for custody of one of her boys, which was granted. This forced her to give her son back to her abuser. Aaliyah was destroyed by this, but she sought counseling and support from The Family Place’s South Dallas Counseling Center, which helped her acquire the necessary tools to get back on her feet. She decided to go back to school and fight for her children.

After taking ESL classes, she enrolled in college classes. Working and studying at the same time brought a lot of sleepless nights, but she was determined to accomplish her goal. Aaliyah earned an associate’s degree from Mountain View College, but that was only the start. She graduated cum laude from the University of Texas in Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and went on to obtained a master’s of Education with dual language emphasis. She has continued graduate studies at Southern Methodist University and is currently pursuing a doctorate from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She plans to complete her dissertation in August 2018.

Years after losing custody of her son, Aaliyah reunited with him, and both of her boys are currently in college. She remarried five years ago and has worked in education for 13 years, currently as an assistant principal in Grand Prairie. Aaliyah is a member of The Family Place’s Board of Directors and Ladies of Leadership, a group of survivors turned advocates. She is also the president of a Toastmaster International Club where she shares her story.

“Thanks to the support I received from the Family Place, I found the courage to be where I am today. I used to be shy, had low self-esteem, and didn’t believe in myself,” Aaliyah says. “The Family Place showed me there are people who care about you without even knowing you, and I will be forever grateful.”