Why are you seeking this position?
I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood so I realized the issue of diversity. I learned how complex my identities were and how I viewed my diversity to be. So being a woman of Guatemalan heritage, I realized there were a lot of issues about diversity that intrigued me. So I got involved with community involvement.
Then I decided to work for the AS and I worked in the Disability Outreach Center. I’ve always had a passion for disability issues due to my own personal experiences. I find it important to acknowledge all the other facets of diversity.
I also have extensive background with the Ethnic Student Center. I’ve had leadership positions with MECha. I’ve had it from the campus leadership levels to a national level, so as a result of that I’ve had experience working with different people, different communities. That’s why I think that I could be a wonderful VP for Diversity for Western’s campus.
What do you think is the role of the VP for Diversity?
Well I do know that the position helps ensure that the AS processes and offices stay committed to diversity. I know that the VP for Diversity provides insight into the ESC, Resource and Outreach Programs and the AS, of course.
But I think it goes beyond that and I think that rather than to assume that diversity is just about ethnicity, it’s about all these different intersectionalities. Like ethnicity, of course, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, class and many more and I think that everyone represents diversity in one way or another.
That’s why I think that diversity is relevant to everyone and I think that as the VP for Diversity, I would use my MECha experience to use that philosophy that I have learned throughout the years to bring it to the students here and encourage the philosophy the key to overcoming oppression is through self empowerment, higher education and civic engagement.
What is one issue affecting students that you would like to focus on or work on next year?
Campus accessibility and inclusion is the big issue I would focus on. It’s important to provide a safe space in campus workshops. This is how I would learn about the different diversity issues that students care about. I would act together and lobby the administration and create the changes that students wish to see.
I plan on working closely with the Equal Opportunity Office, Disability Resources for Students, the Ethnic Students Center and the Resource and Outreach Programs.
When the Carver Gym begins its renovations, I really want to keep students updated on the implementation of the gender neutral locker rooms.
Also to stress the importance of inclusive language and continuing to emphasize the importance of preferred gender pronouns. Diversity affects all of us here at Western. We need to get the community to embrace it, feel empowered and feel included.
As Vice President for Diversity, inclusion will be my top priority. I am a junior majoring in Political Science and Law, Diversity and Justice. I have been actively involved in the Ethnic Student Center’s MEChA organization, holding leadership roles that extend to the national level. I have experience with the Associated Students working as the Disability Outreach Center Coordinator, addressing accessibility issues and promoting disability awareness through events fostering inclusivity.
My goal is to engage our community through awareness and action related to diversity and inclusion with forums, workshops, and dialogue. It is important to acknowledge all facets of diversity – such as under-represented demographics related to ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, class, and more – while also addressing intersectionality.
With awareness, action and team lobbying, important changes that value and include all students will happen. Ultimately, my knowledge, experience, and passion for diversity make me the strongest candidate for this position.