Cover Story

What’s next for the CC Activists?

As many of my friends and colleagues know, I have been tossing around the idea of attending law school since I was 16 years old. Over the years, my opinion of law and yearning to attend law school have both fluctuated. However, after a conversation with Rebecca (attorney at ACLU), in which she spoke about her experiences due to her law degree and how she reconciles the violent, white-supremacist history of law along with her work towards immigrant justice through law, I am once again called to go to law school. From what I learned from our conversation, law school can be a space of conservatism and professionalism, but there are ways to rebel and stay in tune with your own values. Law school gives me a set of skills rather than a specific subject-matter or set of values. I believe these skills would be most beneficial to the work I hope to pursue. I am still worried about the possible barring of creativity, but I know there are ways to stay involved with community and movements outside of the classroom. Knowing how important creativity and radical imagination are to me, I will ensure that I center these in my everyday life, even during law school. I drafted an LSAT study plan for the next three and a half months, and I plan on taking the LSAT in November, aiming for a 173. Ultimately, I am grateful for this experience because the attorneys have shown me how activism can take on multiple forms, especially forms that have historically been used for harm – they can be reclaimed, renewed, and reimagined.

This experience has reaffirmed my interest in being involved with community engagement in my future career in the medical field. While medicine and immigration/human rights may seem like distinct fields, there are important intersections where my takeaways from this internship can inform and enhance my future career. Though scientific skills are emphasized when talking about physicians, I have noticed that cultural competence is also very important. This internship has highlighted the importance of cultural competence and sensitivity in healthcare. Healthcare as a field needs more people that are familiar with working with immigrant and Spanish speaking communities. While working at Border Network for Human Rights, I have interacted with many folks from diverse cultural backgrounds and with unique healthcare needs. I’m certain that this experience will help insure I’m better equipped to provide equitable and patient-centered care to people from all different walks of life.

This internship has deepened my understanding of the social determinants of health. I have witnessed how immigration policies, discrimination, and systemic barriers can have profound effects on individuals’ physical and mental well-being. This knowledge will allow me to approach patient care with a broader perspective, recognizing the impact of social factors on health outcomes. Moreover, the internship has strengthened my commitment to advocating for health equity. The disparities faced by immigrants in accessing healthcare have underscored the need for healthcare professionals to address systemic barriers and work towards inclusive healthcare policies. I will strive to be an advocate for marginalized communities, promoting equitable access to healthcare resources and services.

Lastly, the internship has honed my skills in community engagement, relationship-building, and collaboration. These skills are essential in healthcare, as effective patient care often requires working with multidisciplinary teams and engaging with diverse communities. The ability to listen, understand, and empower patients will be invaluable in establishing trust and promoting patient well-being. Overall, this internship experience has provided me with a broader perspective on health and social justice. It has equipped me with the tools and insights to navigate complex healthcare systems and advocate for marginalized populations. I am confident that the lessons learned during this internship will guide my practice as a healthcare professional, enabling me to provide compassionate, culturally-sensitive, and equitable care to all individuals I serve.


As for my career path, this has helped further solidify that I am certainly interested in working with the immigrant community in the future. The experience prompted many important questions for me and I began to think about whether I would like to have a career in organizing versus doing research that is social justice oriented (though they do not have to be mutually exclusive). I really enjoyed interviewing the members of Border Network for Human Rights and felt that this was something I was fairly successful at. Andres provided encouraging feedback on the way I conducted interviews and I also noted improvement in my abilities and confidence with doing interviews (especially in Spanish!!). Overall, this experience helped me realize that I like to work directly with communities and that I could see myself doing qualitative research as a job. Whatever career path I end up taking, I am certain that I would like to have a job that works towards social justice and tackles societal issues that impact marginalized communities.

From the last two years of taking part in this program, I have gone from having not a single clue what I want to do post-graduation, to having an emphasis on immigration advocacy. I know what I want from an office space, a workplace culture, and the long term goals I want the people I work with to align with. I have learned I love being able to collect and analyze data (both quantitative and qualitative) and, in turn, create something to effectively communicate the findings with people. For example, I am wildly excited about the possibility of my senior thesis being a continuation of my working with Arial and the Torrance County Listening Project and being able to create a final report with findings that can be shared with the community members and the state to help campaign for the [effective] closure of Torrance County Detention Facility. This program has helped me find my passions in life and to feel secure in my beliefs and my identity.

This experience has definitely influenced my career path. I keep switching between wanting to be a community organizer, wanting to be a lawyer, and wanting to be a therapist. All of these things can help play a role in creating social change, and part of me thinks I should be a therapist simply because I’m a Psychology major. But this internship reminded me of a passion that I’ve always had: being an activist. I want to be an activist. Coming into college, I feel like I got caught up in thinking that I needed a job that paid me well, because, why else did I come to such a prestigious school? But I was reminded that what I really want to be doing is the important work and creating a world that can be safer for the future generations that will follow after me. I can’t see myself doing something not involving immigration work. In high school, I would tell people I want to be an immigration lawyer. This experience reminded me of that dream, and that dream now feels more possible than ever.


I cannot see myself doing anything other than work like what I did with Grassroots Leadership (GRL) after this internship. I have always been interested in community organizing but getting to actually see it in action confirmed it is a career path I have been wanting for a long time but did not previously have the vocabulary to describe. My issue now is that I am picky about who I want to work with after all the learning we did about advocacy vs abolition and having an activist frame. I started researching organizations that focus on domestic and sexual violence after my first week of work with GRL, as that’s an issue I am especially passionate about, but have struggled to find any on my own that appear to have an activist frame and center abolitionist principles. Luckily now, I have people who can advise me in this search.

In the beginning, I didn’t think I would want to further pursue immigration law as a career because of how traumatic the experience is, to both asylum seekers and attorneys. Sophia [attorney at New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC)], for example, mentioned that she has nightmares all the time about immigration. However, as I continued fighting, I began to feel like I can do immigration law as a profession, and also continue abolition work. Even though immigration law is a terrible profession because of the many injustices seen every day, it inspired me to continue abolition work. I also thoroughly loved developing relationships with asylum seekers. They are the reason why I want to fight. I am privileged to be an American citizen, and I take that for granted sometimes. Therefore, I really want to continue the work NMILC and many other organizations have done, and finally abolish the unjust immigration system. I also want to work in government and become an advocate for immigrant rights. I don’t think I would be truly inspired to continue immigration work if it wasn’t for NMILC and Las Americas.

I have always known I want to help people. I used to be sure that I was going to be a social worker because that was the only profession I had seen in my life that actually helped people. After this experience I am seriously considering becoming a lawyer. I was able to observe the work they do, and I was also able to experience the impotence of being an intern that cannot answer the legal advice questions that detainees would ask me in the Credible Fear Interview preps. This emotion has kindled a fire within me that is steering me towards law school. I know that if I were to have those credentials, I could do a lot more work.


My time with Colorado Jobs with Justice (JWJ) and with Dani and Julia showed me that at my core, I want to do social activist work and make meaningful change. I was truly shocked at how quickly our time with JWJ passed and honestly wished this experience lasted the whole summer. During my time, I was able to see firsthand what it takes to organize events, connect with people, enforce ordinances, and mobilizing community members. I learned about the importance of allies and how to engage community members, two very important pieces for social change. This upcoming year, I hope to launch AIJ (a student group working on immigrant justice issues) with two other students on behalf of The Butler Center where our main goal will be to create a social activist group composed of CC students ready to mobilize around immigration rights whenever it is needed. My time community organizing has encouraged me to view and explore issues in creative ways to ensure campaigns are inclusive and effective, as JWJ did in their part to start the Injury2All campaign. The work with the wage theft ordinance and the Injury2All campaign really sparked my interest, as they centered around legislation. Prior to my time with them, I had convinced myself I hated law due to a bad experience in a criminal justice class my sophomore year in high school, but being able to dip my feet into work that focused more on immigration showed me it was something I enjoyed doing. This realization is pushing me to try studying law again and exploring potential internships or research projects in that field. I truly enjoyed my time with JWJ and hope to work with more organizations like them, or even with them, in the future. I was able to make deep connections with everyone there and I know I will cross paths with them again in the future.

I realized how organized social change and community organizing groups have to be. For instance, Las Americas had a very structured yet flexible schedule. The reason they have to be structured is because they need a strong backbone in order to represent and help people. Not only when they are in detainment but once they are able to successfully receive asylum. This overall experience encouraged me to continue to pursue going to Law School and specializing in Immigration and Criminal Law. I want to provide for my community, and I hope to one day work with Las Americas or an organization very similar to it. The values and passion people follow in this organization is inspiring, and it gives me a strong sense of hope that there will be change in the future.

This program has put me in rooms full of people who’ve devoted their lives to doing “the work,” and hearing the diverse ways they do it has been a huge inspiration. I’ve learned that it’s possible to be civic-minded and still do work that aligns with your skills and passions, because nonprofits and community organizations need a wide range of skills to stay afloat. I’ve met people and made professional connections that are already starting to influence my future work because I’m getting the chance to meet people who are towards the end of their careers and have experiences they can share with me.

I’ve always been interested in a career that leaves a positive impact on the world. While this experience didn’t change that underlying value too much, it made me realize that I thrive in dynamic environments where there’s a chaotic problem that needs people to adapt to last-minute changes in the situation. I value a good work-life balance more than ever, and have met people who encourage me to follow this line of work and have given me tips on how to not go insane. I’m passionate about the environment and about immigration, and those two issues are going to come into conflict soon as the climate crisis creates more refugees than it already has. Even for a month, existing in a community with other people committed to change has encouraged me to stick to this path and will help me figure out exactly how to make this happen.

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