Diana Gonzalez Gonzalez, a junior at Adams State University (ASU) and the 2020 ASU Emerging Leader, addresses issues of just pathways to citizenship and language justice within her community. As a bilingual daughter of immigrant farmworkers, she understands first-hand many of the inequities faced by those who are not born in the U.S., who work in the fields and warehouses to feed the nation, and whose first language is not English. She seeks to bring a greater cultural awareness and opportunity to the campus and local community through her work with the ASU Spanish Club, College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), and Sacred Heart Church. She teaches Religion to the Spanish and Q’anjob’al speaking members of her church in their native language, provides tutoring in Spanish for CAMP students in various subject areas, and continues to provide culturally relevant programming during the pandemic. Citizenship carries double meaning for Diana, as she strives to be a responsible and equitable member of society and to prepare herself to support others in their pursuit of a legal status in the United States.
I have many reasons for my approach to the social issue of immigration. Immigrants are people who are, at times, frowned upon just because of their legal status or simply for being a part of another country and culture. This issue matters to me because I believe that no person should be discriminated against for seeking a better future. I also believe if the process of immigration is sought to be limited, it should be done in a humane way and not by separating children from their parents at the border. Another reason this issue matters to me is because I myself come from a family of immigrants that came to the U.S. in search of better opportunities. In order to address this problem, I have always thought the best way to do it is to reach a big crowd of people and to inform them. Now I realize that even if only one person at a time is informed, in the long run it can have a lasting ripple effect.