SPU Students Are Changing the World

Graphic by Diana Paredes

Desiree Armas

Desiree Armas

Grade: Sophomore

Major: Environmental Studies Major with a Social Justice Minor

Would you call yourself an activist?

Yes because I am fighting for something bigger than myself.

What are you fighting for?

A sustainable future that encompasses a lot of different things - not just climate justice, but also equity, women’s rights, trying to close that wage gap. I am also fighting for my livelihood. I’m fighting for my life to see again that sustainable future, and then one day working together across all different types of genders, races; for a regenerative future.

Positions:

Center for Undocumented Students. Make the Road New Jersey,Sunrise Movement Jersey City Hub

Goals:

Hopefully we get all of our representatives on the Dream & Promise Act, and it goes through the House and the Senate. The Dream & Promise Act is a new bill that will allow for DACA, TPS and DED folks to then be allowed to go on this path to citizenship. With Sunrise, my goal is that the Green New Deal gets as much movement and heat as possible. I want it to be taken seriously and debated on and discussed, and we pass it.

What led you to these movements?

I’m Latina. I’m undocumented. I’m low-income, and a first-generation student. I know that I will suffer climate catastrophe the most. I am a part of this group of people that will suffer the catastrophic decisions made by a select group of people even if I had absolutely no part in that decision making. I am always at the short end of the stick, and it took me about 20 years to realize that. There was something going on that was affecting me in ways that I didn’t recognize before. I had to be a part of this movement to change it, and to look for something different.

What is your biggest anticipation for this year?

Seeing where all the climate strikes lead up to.

Samantha Martinez

Samantha Ramirez

Grade: Sophomore

Major: Criminal Justice

Would you call yourself an activist?

Yes because I am trying to promote change in our society. I am going to do it, and nothing is going to stop me from promoting change.

What are you fighting for?

Climate change justice because it takes more than just viewing it from the perspective of a greener earth.

Positions:

I’m in the Sunrise Movement.

Goals:

To have more people in the hub. Another one is to have people know of the Green New Deal and acknowledge it.

What led you to this movement?

I didn’t really know about it, but then the more I got to know about the issues, I started to realize that I, myself could be affected by this. I also want to help my community as much as I can.

What is your biggest anticipation for this year?

I’m hoping to see more of a change on campus. We can get things rolling, and then Sunrise can grow bigger here in Jersey City.

Pyetra Camargo

Pyetra Camargo

Grade: Junior

Major: Political Science

Would you call yourself an activist?

Yes because I do a lot of work to help the various communities that I am a part of.

What are you fighting for?

Currently, I am advocating for the Green New Deal with the Sunrise Movement. We are planning the town hall that is coming up on May 1.

Positions:

Reaching After Immigrant Intellect and Success (RAIIS), Also, I help to organize Sunrise meetings and events that are going on.

Goals:

I would love to see a bigger discussion about the Green New Deal, and presidential candidates speak more about it. If anybody has better solutions to improve it, I want to see them bring them forward.

What is your biggest anticipation for this year?

The town hall that we are having May 1. I’m hoping that we have a lot of people come out, even if they don’t know much about the Green New Deal, that’s the whole purpose of the town hall, to learn how it will impact you and your community.

Maria Del Cielo Mendez

Maria Del Cielo Mendez

Grade: Freshman

Major: Communication and Media Culture/Political Science Major with a Minor in Marketing

Would you call yourself an activist?

I don’t call myself an activist because I think what I do is a responsibility. I think that I, as an immigrant student from a low-income household, it is my responsibility to work for the workers because when I fight for the workers, I fight for my parents, and when I fight for immigrants, I fight for my family. I don’t think that should be its own separate subsection. What are you fighting for?

I have been working for immigrant rights since I was 16.

Positions:

I am a youth leader at Make the Road NJ. On campus, I am senator for the class of 2022, and I will be vice president of RAIIS.

Goals:

To see the Dream and Promise Act passed. Make the Road is working on campaigns in terms of drivers’ licenses and professional licenses. Being able to drive your kids to work, or your family to the hospital. If we work; if we pay taxes, we should be able to do that, and many undocumented people cannot. Now that DACA is being rescinded, those people will lose their licenses too. The professional licenses is essentially this: you can go to school to be a barber or cosmetologist, but you cannot work because undocumented or DACA eligible people are unable to obtain those licenses. The professional licenses campaign is sort of a second step to the NJ Dream Act.

What led you to these movements?

Make the Road NJ had a program where they would take first generation and low-income students, and then teach them about the college process, so that they can be peer mentors to other low-income first generation students.

What is your biggest anticipation for this year?

I want to see more people take account of this responsibility, especially young people. More young people taking a hold of that responsibility, and taking back their narrative.

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