Second Year History and International Affairs Double Major and Latin American and Caribbean Studies Minor
Before starting my freshman year at UGA, I participated in a wonderful program called Dawg Camp where I got to have a peer leader, Manasa, who was actually a Site Leader for an IMPACT trip the upcoming year. She urged me to apply, and I unknowingly became a part of what would be one of the greatest experiences in modern history. The concept of service is much more complex than people tend to let it be. I learned not only about the community and the issues it faced, but how that affected other communities around the world, communities near me, and where I fit in the grand scheme of things. The program is so important for people to understand that social justice has to do with people’s lives, not the politicization of human rights.
Why Immigration Awareness:
I am a son of immigrants, so immigration has always been a central topic in my life and has affected the way I grew up. However, I didn’t grow up with farm-working parents, and that intersection of identities brings an entirely new experience that I have grown up with but that is just as valid and just as important. Farmworking immigrants experience a plethora of issues dealing with class, color of their skin, gender, sexual orientation, etc. while also dealing with the major issues surrounding their immigration status. Controversial news continues to dehumanize this community that has a strong holding in Immokalee, FL, where I believe participants can learn from the experiences of these people that the struggles are real and not just pawns for some game. I’m ecstatic to learn more about this complex community.
I once accidentally saw the Pope from ten feet away!
Fourth Year Genetics and Anthropology Double Major and Disaster Management Minor
I got involved with IMPACT during my freshman year at the urging of my older sister. She told me that one her biggest regrets was not going on an IMPACT trip while at UGA and that I would love it. I did! After going on two IMPACT trips as a participant (Affordable Housing and Homelessness & Poverty), I became a site leader and led a trip to Nashville, TN, focusing on community health and wellbeing. Throughout the years, IMPACT has taught me that it is possible to enact meaningful change in a community and within yourself in a short amount of time. As a site leader, I hope to inspire participants to serve and grow, both on the trips and in Athens/their own communities upon returning from the trip.
Why Immigration Awareness:
During my freshman year at UGA, I joined Refugee Outreach at UGA. Through the club, I explored migrant issues and worked with Karen and Karenni refugees and Hispanic migrants, discovering that one of my passions is working with immigrant communities. Over the years, I have become well-versed in refugee issues, but I wanted to learn more about immigration and farmworker justice in the U.S. In the current political climate, immigration is an incredibly relevant and controversial issue, affecting lives all over the country and world. With such a complex trip focus, I know I have a lot to learn, and I hope to explore all sides of the issue throughout the year and on the trip. My ultimate goal for the trip is to dispel any myths and misconceptions we may have about immigration and to humanize the issue. I think one of the best ways to learn about a topic is to meet and connect with affected communities, and Immokalee, FL, the trip location, has a rich history of farmworker justice. I am excited to learn and grow with our participants through our engagement in the area.
I’m Canadian and American!