As a journalism and political science double major and Bonner Scholar at the University of Richmond, Brianna Silva has dedicated her service to supporting Latinx communities in Richmond and across the country with passion and creativity. Brianna’s internships with the Latin American Legal Defense & Education Fund and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Kindness Project, as well as her mentor role with the Scholars Latino Initiative, are demonstrative of her extraordinary commitment to Latinx communities. She has also devoted significant energy during the pandemic to supporting and empowering individuals and families in her hometown of Princeton, NJ, and here in Richmond, including initiatives that have secured resources for local food banks and donated free masks to her communities.
Growing up in an undocumented household, I saw firsthand the difficult and hidden lives of immigrants. It was not until I was accepted into the Bonner Scholars Program, where I commit 10 hours of weekly service, that I began to pursue an interest in immigration. In combination with my double majors in Political Science and Journalism, I was able to connect my classroom knowledge to the people I served at various non-profits from the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund where I learned about our broken immigration system. Or, the International Rescue Committee where I gained knowledge on the global refugee and migration crisis. To the Scholar’s Latino Initiative where I oversee a high school mentoring program to cultivate the minds of the next Latinx leaders. Through each opportunity, I became more invested in helping immigrants live a good quality of life (food security, financial resources, access to education...etc.). Now, I am hoping to start a municipal ID program in Richmond, VA to help address the gap between federal and local immigration policy. Having seen first-hand the effects of our immigration system, it is important for local communities to step in when federal policy has failed.