I always had a sense of wanting to help others. I knew going into college that I wanted to help my community and it was important to me to have the biggest impact I could possibly have in my lifetime. That was my north star. I was overly involved in extracurricular activities in college, all helping organizations. It was my outlet and a way for me to narrow down my passion. It wasn’t until I found Students For Education Reform (SFER) that I knew that I had found my life’s work. Seeing as I was overly involved, one of the community organizers asked me, “are you going to be able to change the world in our lifetime?” I said “no.” She pushed my thinking and asked me a follow up question, “then who?” It was clear to me that I needed to invest in our future generations. However, for them to be able to be the best contributors to society, they needed access to high quality higher education. This was something that wasn’t happening for so many in my community. It was an injustice, a modern civil rights movement.
I’m a daughter of immigrants from El Salvador born and raised in Redwood City, where I went through the public education system all the way through high school. When my Freshman class entered high school, we had over 1,000 students. Upon graduation, there were less than 400 of us. Even for my AVID class, the first generation college-going low-income students of color, out of a class of 30 of us, only about 5 of us graduated from college 4 years after high school. This is a systemic issue and it is disproportionately attacking our low-income communities of color.
This is why when SFER exposed and taught me that education reform was a career, I knew that I wanted to become a community organizer. Through the years, I have become an educator at one of the highest performing public schools on the EastSide of San Jose, a public charter school Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep. Most importantly, I accomplished my goal. I am now a community organizer that is continuing to build the movement of people power in education reform. With our organized power, I know we can get one step closer to changing the world.