IsmaelRGV is ranked #21 of 69

Social Justice student using the power of social media and the Internet to amplify my community’s voice.

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My political story

Initially I got involved in activism when I volunteered at organization in my community that was registering people to vote, while I was still in high school. It was there that I started hearing about challenges faced by others in my community, and seeing the power of organizing. The organization name was A Resource in Serving Equality (ARISE). After volunteering there for many month I was brought on board as a part time organizer. Threw this organization I learned about the huge need to transportation, a lot of people didn't have a car or could not drive. Getting to work, school, or to a doctor is difficult. I also learned about the stories of perseverance and struggle of many immigrants crossing into the United States. This organization (ARISE) was led by women from the community who spoke mostly Spanish. Soon after while I was in my senior year of high school I started a solidarity protest with Occupy Wall Street. Growing up in low income family I felt every day the growing inequality. So did a lot of people in my community. The county I live in is among the poorest in the state and the nation. Ever since the conservative government has cut many programs that help give people in my community a opportunity at the American dream. I wanted to do something. I made an event on social media. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what I was doing. I was surprised when more than 200 people came out to the event, the media was there too. It was great to see my community has come together, networked, and organized over time. I have been organizing ever since. Our community is improving as more people have been getting involved. I am glad I contributed to that effort.

Why I deserve a Netroots Nation Scholarship

I want to attend netroots nation because I want to meet and be inspired by the work of my peers. There are many struggles facing our communities and I think that by sharing we help strengthen our commitment and revitalize our passion. There is also a great opportunity learn, earning never ends. It would be a great opportunity to learn tactics and strategies that will help me be a better organizer. These new strategies will help me better serve my community.

What first inspired me to get involved

I am a first generation Chicano in the United States. My parents immigrated to US from Mexico when I was a child. Because my parents did not have the opportunity to receive an education in Mexico, they worked hard in the hot fields across the United States. Migrating was difficult because our residence was never stable. But it taught me to adapt and overcome challenges. They did this hoping a better future for me and my three brothers. They have always been supportive and caring. They are my inspiration. I know education is a great opportunity to get our of poverty, which is why I value education. I know if more people graduate from college our middle class will grow, and so will our economy. I became an activist to defend public education and increase access to higher-ed. I also advocate for inclusive education, and not censorship.

The blog post I am most proud of

As part of Texas Freedom Network our climax event for our voter registration campaign was a Selena themed registration drive. It was called Bidi-Bidi-Bom-Bom to the polls. It was a huge success we filled the space we got for the event and people had a lot of fun. We collected over 200 voter pledge cards on that day.

More about my political involvement

I am a third year student at UTPA in South Texas. I have volunteered at Voices for Planned Parenthood, Environmental Awareness Club, and the Texas Freedom Network at UTPA. I keep active in the progressive community at my university by advising and helping run social media accounts. In addition I help in reach out and planning of events. As much as possible I organize and help attend events on campus.

How I've gotten others involved

I engage other by engaging with people online, encouraging them to get involved to fix problems in our community. I also work in the field. I am a grassroots organizer who works with the campus community and local community organizations to better engage people. I help come up with creative ideas for attracting and keeping people involved.

My Twitter manifesto on online activism

Amplify your voice. The world at your fingertips. Use it, or lose it.

If I could design a bumper sticker it would say:

College for all

My wild idea for a cool new action

Free college education for every high school graduate

I am a

Grassroots Activist