Monica Estrada Arias | I Am Able to Achieve More Because of Community

Document created by Sara Jo Lee on Mar 22, 2020
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Monica Arias shares what drives him to achieve more.
My Journey to #AchieveMore
As an undergraduate student I have been able to focus on research while also finding communities that encompass my intersectional identities on campus. This has proved essential in my journey of personal growth. I am a first generation woman of color of an immigrant background, and I dedicate my work to communities of color. I do research involving human rights and technology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and research on citizen engagement in local democracies across Europe and the Americas for New America in Washington D.C..The work that I do is dedicated to the communities that have uplifted me for years and that continue to inspire me to achieve more. Ultimately, my goal is for my research it to be easily accessible, diverse, and inclusive. The current U.S. state of affairs makes it difficult to navigate society with these goals in mind. Especially when you read, think, breathe social injustices as part of your educational and professional life. Moments like these are where I am reminded of how resilient my communities are. My experience in the recent DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) demonstration for the supreme court case of Regents of the University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reinvigorated my passion for social justice. My poster had an image of an immigrant father and daughter who lost their lives while crossing the border and it read "We are all Connected, Defend Immigrant Families, Defend DACA". While this was just my poster, there were many alike. Our posters were soaked after it started raining but people started handing out rain ponchos and emergency blankets. Our collective voices were hard across the road, our songs, our passion, "Home is Here! Home is Here!" The feeling of unity in the crowd was transcending and reassuring. We will be okay and we will continue to fight for a better future. Both independent work and public demonstrations are needed to make the world a better place. My research consists of a lot of independent work. I want to further knowledge and make it accessible for all communities. As an undergraduate student, I have the privilege of engaging in the academic world and I hope to bring that back to my communities. This interconnectivity keeps me going. We are each individuals who bring our own talents and together we form community with the power of a collective voice.

What Drives You to #AchieveMore?