Meet the Current Class

Arturo Bustos

Arturo is a first-generation Mexican American college student who was born and raised in Southeast San Diego. He is currently attending San Diego City College where he is pursuing an Associate’s Degree for Transfer in Sociology. As the son of immigrant parents, Arturo has been acquainted with the social and economic injustices that are far too prevalent in San Diego County. To challenge said injustices, Arturo reclaimed his purpose by partaking in varying forms of civic engagement and social activism.

Through his internship at Alliance for HOPE International and work at other organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee, Arturo has gained an ample amount of experience in furthering social and economic equity. At Alliance, he worked on expanding fundraising and grant writing operations while assisting its programs such as the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, Camp HOPE America, and the Family Justice Center Alliance in an effort to vitalize the non-profits’ mission to create pathways to hope for women, children, and men who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and human trafficking.

As South Bay Precinct Captain at the ACLU, Arturo organized and executed community events to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties of those in the U.S. As a Global Youth Ambassador at the International Rescue Committee, he indulged in finding ways to positively impact the global refugee crisis. As an SEJ Fellow, Arturo will explore avenues of service that will propel prospective career paths in the realms of economic and social justice. With the experience gained from SEJ, Arturo will be granted skills that will help him strive for the betterment of San Diego County.

Amina Dauood

Amina is a recent graduate of San Diego State University, where she studied English and minored in journalism with a certificate in editing and publishing. She was born and raised in San Diego, specifically City Heights. Passionate about community, she is absolutely dedicated to social justice and advocacy. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Legal Aid Society of San Diego as a client board member. She most recently interned with U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris’ San Diego field office and the International Rescue Committee in City Heights. As a daughter of a Somali refugee, she recognizes the systematic gaps in achieving social and economic justice for minorities, immigrants, and refugees alike. She hopes to contribute to lessening this gap in the future in the areas of law and public policy.

Marianne Delatorre 

Marianne is a second-generation Filipina-American who proudly calls National City home. She is a recent graduate with a dual bachelor’s degree in political science and ethnic studies from the University of California, San Diego. In college, she was very involved as a student-activist leader in the Filipino-American student organization, Kaibigang Pilipin@, where she was social awareness coordinator and scriptwriter for the annual Pilipin@ Cultural Celebration. Her other leadership roles centered around educational access and retention work for UCSD and San Diego communities, in addition to working on grassroots campaigns for local leaders such as National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. Growing up in a military family, Marianne had the unique experience of watching her mom enlisted as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy while her dad worked as a maintenance worker at a local military housing complex. Their hardships as immigrant parents and growing up in National City motivates her passion for social and economic justice. Marianne is constantly finding empowerment from the resiliency set forth by the diverse communities she’s worked with. She aspires to be a lawyer who specializes in urban development and policy intertwining community advocacy. As a young Filipina-American, her goal is to enter politics working for the National City community to bring meaningful representation and institutional change.

Cassandra Hernandez

Cassy (she/they)was born and raised in Chula Vista and is currently a second-year, Xicanx student-worker at SDSU majoring in Chicanx and Women’s studies. Cassy has a deep love for organizing and nourishing a healing environment within activist spaces. Prioritizing holistic wellbeing and taking into account one’s own mind, body, and spirit in the journey towards collective liberation is something Cassy fosters in the spaces they inhabit. While being guided as a CurandereScholarActivistand a board member of M.E.Ch.A., they have been able to learn about organizing and building community, as well as sharing the tools and knowledge they have gained.

During their first year of college, Cassy found the need to co-found a Political Organizing Committee to create a space where students could identify issues on campus and in the community they wanted to mobilize around. One result of this collective work was the creation of an Undocumented Resource Center and a Latinx Center proposal that will be in fruition at SDSU within the next year. Their activism has also involved protesting oppressive policies such as increases in tuition, privatization of education, and the erasure of Queer and Trans people of color. They also work as a Feminist Peer Educator at the Women’s Resource Center where they create programming centering the experiences of womxn, non-binary people, and QTPOC, as well as serves as a mentor to students on campus navigating the institution.

Providing low-income, Queer students of color access to education and creating learning environments that do not perpetuate colonial structures such as the gender binary is a goal Cassy holds very close to their heart. Cassy will continue organizing, building, and centering healing while pushing for the liberation of working-class communities. Cassy looks forward to working this summer with CPI to grow as an organizer and heart-driven community member.

Nicholas Robbins

Nick was born and raised in Northern California and moved to San Diego in 2006. After serving 10 years in the US Navy, he became a full-time student at San Diego City College and started working for the American Federation of Teachers Local 1931. As an AFT intern, heparticipated in labor strikes alongside Unite Here Local 30, worked with the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus pushing for environmental responsibility in our community, as well as participated in numerous rallies and protests ranging from gun control to the rejection of a wall at our southern border. After college, he plans on being a community/union organizer right here in sunny San Diego as he places a high emphasis on workers’ rights and dignity for ALL working people and the disassembly of any institution that perpetuates economic injustice and racial or sexual orientation discrimination.

Jesus Suarez

Jesus is a proud second-generation American and first-generation college student from Latinx, immigrant background. Jesus currently goes to Cuyamaca College where he is double-majoring in sociology and political science. He serves as the Associated Student Government president for the students of Cuyamaca College in addition to serving as the president of SPECTRUM, Cuyamaca College’s only LGBTQIA+ club. Through his leadership roles, he has advocated for student rights to basic-need support systems on campus, equity and engagement, co-founded Cuyamaca’s Annual Social Justice Conference, and Magnum Opus, Cuyamaca’s only graduate diversity celebration, amongst other things. In addition, Jesus also works as leader Engagement Ambassador in the Cuyamaca College Office of Student Affairs, where he plans cultural and equity-related programs such as heritage month celebrations. He will transfer to the University of California, Berkeley in the fall of 2019 where he will continue to study sociology. Jesus plans to pursue law school or graduate school after completing his undergraduate work and hopes to start a non-profit organization dedicated to communities of color and the LGBTQIA+ community down the line.

Jessica Weeden

Jessica is a Chicana, feminist student and advocate from San Diego. She is close to meeting her goal of obtaining an associate’s degree in liberal arts and sciences with area of emphasis in language arts and humanities. She aspires to transfer to UCSD to pursue a degree in Critical Gender Studies, and eventually becoming a college professor. Along the way, Jessica has had the opportunity to intern for the American Federation of Teachers Local 1931 where her passion for social justice began to snowball with every picket, canvas, and seminar. The internship was an avenue for her to become more educated and involved with issues facing our communities and the current administration, as well as to learn the importance of community organizing to achieve social justice. She is excited to start utilizing the tools and skills learned through the SEJ Fellowship to become a better educator and organizer for social and economic justice in the San Diego region.