Andrea Domínguez is a transborder student at San Diego City College. Her educational goals are to obtain an associate’s degree in sustainable urban agriculture and transfer to a 4-year university to earn a bachelor’s. As a transfronteriza she has witnessed border violence and the devastating effects of economic policies that have deepened the systemic inequalities and injustices working-class people have to endure. Over the years, Tijuana has become more and more a place of transit for people fleeing poverty and conflict in their home countries.
Her lived experiences, and being an activist on both sides of the border, has helped shaped her consciousness as well as her career aspirations. She hopes to become an educator and advocate for social and economic justice in the Tijuana-San Diego region.
She firmly believes education is a powerful tool to fight against all forms of oppression and towards a collective liberation for all. Before 2015, all of her previous education was in Mexico, so learning to navigate a different educational system and in another language was a struggle. The Students for Economic Justice Summer Fellowship is the culmination of all her hard work and dedication as a student. At the same time it’s the beginning of a new chapter in her academic and activist formation. She plans on using every skill she learns to bring awareness to issues affecting communities all over the county. She dares to dream that another world is possible, and the first step to bring change is to be at a place where silence ceases to exist.
Arneson Sambile was born on the East Coast and raised in San Diego. He most recently received his associate’s degree from San Diego Miramar/Mesa College and will be transferring to San Francisco State University in the fall. Although he was initially going to pursue a business degree, during his time in the San Diego Community College District he was able to reshape his ambitions and choose to major in sociology with plans of pursuing a double major in Asian American studies and sociology at SFSU. He’s a resident of Mira Mesa, commonly referred to as “Manila Mesa.” Through mentorship from Kirin Macapugay, a community leader and professor at City College, he first learned about social justice. His love for community, culture, and his lived experiences while growing up in San Diego continue to push him to want to make change in his city. As an SEJ Fellow, he hopes to learn ways to address the injustices in our city.
Fiorela Giuleana Olivari
Fiorela Giuleana Olivari is a first-generation American with Peruvian and Mexican roots. She is a single mother, former cash-aid recipient and first-generation college student. Fiorela is studying criminal justice at San Diego State University. As a teenage mother in an abusive relationship, she knew she had to leave to give her son a better life. However, as a Latina, earning a living wage was very difficult and she knew the odds were stacked against her. She applied for cash-aid benefits despite the shame. Her love of her beautiful son motivated her to better herself and face any stigma head on. She quickly realized that she had to educate herself of her rights and become a vociferous advocate for herself and her son.
Soon after enrolling in college Fiorela wanted to empower other mothers and vulnerable students on aid and so for three years she has worked for the Grossmont CalWORKs department, whose mission is helping students gain educational and social justice. She has also helped other women who were victims of abuse empower themselves and learn to advocate for themselves and their children. Lastly, Fiorela is also a member of SDSU’s Criminal Justice Student Association and a committee board member of Grossmont College’s Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE). Through her work in these organizations, she advocates for equity and social justice in education, the community, the penal system, and society.
Ignacio Hernández Valverde
Ignacio Hernández Valverde is a student leader and community advocate. After studying film production at San Diego City College, he’s transferring to the University of California at Berkeley next spring. He has served the community in different ways, including as an intern with the American Federation of Teachers Local 1931, as president of San Diego City College’s Associated Students Government, and as student trustee of the San Diego Community College District.
His academic goals are to finish his undergraduate education at Berkeley, then earn a master’s and a doctorate. He wants to continue advocating for students and unions at UC Berkeley and anywhere he goes after that. He’s a DREAMer and has advocated for DREAMers in San Diego County, in Sacramento, and in Washington, D.C. He loves learning new things, including how to help others. His long-term goal is to continue to empower and inspire others to speak up and know they have a voice. He is beyond excited to start Center on Policy Initiative’s Student for Economic Justice Fellowship this summer!
Martha Amezcua was born in Tijuana and raised in City Heights since the age of nine. She currently attends Grossmont Community College, where she is pursuing a major in psychology. Her involvement with the community started on campus, where she continues to advocate for and organize with her fellow brothers and sisters who face hardships on a daily basis due to their immigration status. She’s a board member of the Dreamers Movement Club and EOPS Club, which promote leadership, unity, and the importance of higher education. Her educational goals include transferring to and graduating from SDSU and then pursue a PhD in psychology. She hopes to one day start her own nonprofit organization to give back to her community and continue her fight for social justice.
Ray Golden is from San Diego and attended Central Michigan University, where he double majored in political science and public and nonprofit administration, and minored in philosophy. While at Central Michigan, Ray was the Vice President of the NAACP and a member of the Student Government Association. He also played football for Central Michigan. In his free time Ray likes to read, visit art museums and amusement parks, and hike.
Richard Meza was born and raised in San Diego and is currently a student at San Diego Mesa College. He looks forward to transferring to SDSU or UCSD soon. His major is psychology, and he wants to eventually pursue his master’s degree. He hopes to work as a counselor for our troubled youth. As a troubled youth himself, he came to know the reasons why kids join gangs and hopes to prevent them from taking a path that only leads to incarceration. Having been incarcerated himself, he witnessed the unjust treatment of prisoners and the unjust policies of private prisons in action, and how the government and these corporations profit from them. He’s an active member of San Diego City College’s “Urban Scholars Union,” a club that supports formerly incarcerated students, and is trying to start another branch at Mesa College. Richard looks forward to working with Students for Economic Justice, where he hopes to gain experience and knowledge that he will bring to the communities he was raised in to help those in need.
Stephanie Flores is a Latina sociology transfer student and student-labor organizer at UCSD. From 2015 to 2017, she attended El Camino Community College and received her associate’s degree in sociology. She was born and raised in Inglewood, California and also grew up in Hawthorne, California. She is the daughter of Laura Villegas and Jesús Héctor Flores, Mexican immigrants who raised her to be the strong and compassionate woman she is today.
She is passionate about social justice and cares about issues that working-class communities of color face. During the summer of 2017, she volunteered at a day labor center called Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA) in Los Angeles, where she learned how to organize around issues that affect her community like wage theft, exploitation of immigrant workers, and economic, gender, and racial inequality.
She is currently an AFSCME intern and the AS Labor Director (Coalition Builder) of the External Affairs Office at UCSD. She helps run labor commission meetings in order to strengthen student-worker relations on campus. She likes to challenge inequality on campus by organizing actions, presentations, and building solidarity with unions on campus. On May 1st, 2018, she organized a panel discussion called “Perspectives of Latina Immigrant Workers” as a way to honor international workers day and the voices of UC workers. As an AFSCME intern, she supported the AFSCME strike on May 7, 8, and 9 and worked on ensuring student turn out by reaching out to teachers, students, and collaborating with UAW 2865.
Stephanie is growing to be an educator and aspires to be a lawyer that specializes in immigration and labor law. She hopes to inspire other daughters of immigrants and other under represented students. The work she does is a reflection of the love she has for her family and community.
Wilson Saiki Junior
Wilson Saiki Junior was born and raised in Brazil, and moved to the United States in 2013. He’s currently studying political science at San Diego City College and hopes to have a career in government or in progressive organizations. He’s interested in pursuing his master’s degree in public policy. Wilson decided to study political science after campaigning in the 2015-2016 presidential primary election. Even though he’s not yet a citizen, Wilson volunteered for Senator Bernie Sanders campaign and had the opportunity to learn more about the American political system. At City College, he’s a member of Phi Theta Kappa. He’s also the vice president of the Asian and Pacific Islander Student Alliance and plans to transfer to UC Berkeley or UCSD in the fall of 2019.