The 2020 presidential election was a significant one for me because it was the first time that I was able to vote. One of the main avenues I turned to for support pre-election was Holy Cross’ Latin American Student Organization (LASO). In February, I attended the “Exploring the Candidates with LASO” where I heard from different HC students who each interned with Democratic candidates during the January term. This event was insightful for me because it allowed me to learn more about the Democratic candidates’ policies and values. I was glad to see that LASO continued to provide this space even virtually by contributing an episode on the 2020 election to their Spotify podcast channel, Viva La Cultura. Something I appreciated from the podcast was being able to hear other Latinx students reflect on the toll that the election was having on them because I was able to realize that I was not the only one who was experiencing the same urge for the election to happen.
During the week of the election, I was not getting much sleep or able to get much work done either because I found myself constantly refreshing the electoral college map on my phone. It was also difficult for me to focus in class because of the anxious feeling of wanting to know who won the election. However, I also understood that every vote had to be counted and because of the mail-in votes, it may take some time. By the end of the week, I was thankful for the right to vote and democracy.
I vividly remember exactly what I was doing when Joe Biden was named the winner in Pennsylvania. I am sure that this is a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. My mother came into my room and we both cried together because we both knew what was at stake. I remember calling my father to tell him the news and the sigh of relief I heard from his voice because Biden winning meant that his temporary status in the US would be safe. I remember how happy my heart felt as I watched the news covering the celebration in Philadelphia, DC, and New York.
Something else I was appreciative of was the Women of Color Reacting to the Election space that Professor Rodrigues and Xochitl Tapia’ 21 provided for women of color because it allowed me to reflect and share my thoughts on the election with other women who had the same perspective as me as well as the same experiences on campus. For me, it was heartwarming to connect with Professor Rodrigues and the other participants. My favorite part of the event was how everyone was listening to each other because it made me feel a lot better about the election and the aftermath of counting the votes.
A week and a half after the release of the election results, I am hopeful for the Biden Harris administration. For me, as we enter this period before their inauguration, it is important to hold both Biden and Harris accountable for the policies and plans that they highlighted during their campaign. Three of the main issues important to me are stopping systemic racism, immigration reform and providing a more accessible legal process to citizenship for immigrants, and the COVID-19 plan. As their inauguration approaches, I will be doing everything I can do to continue to stay involved and seek ways where I can help continue to promote and enforce change.
It’s also important to hold the Biden and Harris administration accountable for my CBL site. When volunteering at Ascentria, I work with unaccompanied refugee minors by tutoring and helping them learn English. Ascentria provides the academic and emotional support needed for their students to adapt to a new country and environment. One of the most inspiring things about Ascentria students is their hope and determination to continue to pursue their education and create a better life for themselves. Having policies that include refugee minors is important to the population that I work with because without these policies, refugee minors would not be able to obtain the education they deserve.