Every Inch Full of Authority
When Marlyn del Carmen Garcia was 14 years old, a guy in the neighborhood offered her a marijuana cigarette. She was probably no taller than 5-foot-2. He towered over her. But Marlyn Garcia was not one to be cowed. "She smacked the guy," her elder sister Ingrid recalled. "She was like, 'This is how you say no to drugs.' "
Ms. Garcia, 21, was regarded as the most brainy, responsible and big-mouthed of the three Garcia girls. She graduated three years ago as the valedictorian of her class at the Bay Ridge Christian Academy and was offered a scholarship to Syracuse University ‹ but she turned it down to be close to the family. She enrolled instead at John Jay College. Every morning, she arrived at work at the 101st-floor offices of Marsh & McLennan a half-hour early, so she could leave in time for school.
"I'm 33," Ingrid said, "and if she said, 'Sit,' I would sit."
Ms. Garcia aspired to travel, to be an advocate for those who could not speak for themselves, to work for the United Nations someday. "She was a little girl who was very powerful, very determined," Ingrid said. "We used to call her an old woman trapped in a little girl's body."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 13, 2001.