What are you planning on doing with your Truman Scholarship?
The Truman Scholarship will fund my education for a PhD in either geography or anthropology.
I want to focus on Puerto Rican Studies by conducting a project that uses oral
histories and the archive to explain how my Puerto Rican community finds home in
spaces infiltrated by imperialism and colonialism. The scholarship will also help
me with professional development by connecting me with like-minded educators who
strive for social justice and educational equity in the classroom and our communities.
What is Project La Resolana?
Growing up, I didn’t really learn a lot about my culture, but I’ve always really
been fascinated with books. I think going to college, being involved in debate
and getting involved in reading critical literature about my community in high
school made me realize there are disconnections in our education system. There
are disconnections in the way that we teach, even in the ways we teach our communities
about who we are. So I thought, “How can I fill this gap in education and knowledge?” I started with the help of the Miami Urban Debate League. I contacted my former high
school, and our high school was very responsive to it. I collected a whole bunch of books and I mailed them. I had to either pay for them
myself or I make a post on social media requesting donations. I made the students
I was working with fill out a survey and asked “What if you could have any book in
the world. What book would it be?” I got everything from James Baldwin to a book
about nursing. I would buy the books from donations that people gave me and mail
directly to the student. I also have this really huge cultural library in my apartment.
So, I find a book on my shelf, and I’ll just mail it to them. I started working with the head librarian at Fort Lauderdale High School and their
book club to do book drives. So now what we’re going to do is take these books that
are collected in South Florida and bring them to West Virginia and redistribute them
to students here, but my younger sister is also taking a part of Project La Resolana
and is going put these collected books at South Florida community centers, laundromats
and schools. So that way when students do go to these places, they have access to
the literature that’s there.
What is driving you to want to give back in this way?
It’s very cathartic to me because I grew up poor and had to go through a lot of obstacles
in my life. I asked myself, “What did I need in that particular moment, and how
can I provide that to my community?” Because I can only imagine that there are
other students of color like myself who have gone through what they’ve gone through
just based off of how society is structured. I want to give students access to
literature because I want them to see how it has positively impacted me.