Gabriella Terese Romo is a second year student at Loyola University Maryland who builds bridges between Loyola's campus and the local Baltimore communities to address generational legacies of injustice. Through her work with Loyola Rising, the Kino Border Initiative, and the York Road Initiative, Gabriella works alongside people most affected by systems of oppression. By listening to and learning from how they dedicate their life to finding solutions to problems they did not create, Gabriella aims to uplift the voices of peoples' visions of justice and empower people in communities through education and relationships. Gabriella believes everyone has a voice and she is committed to making room for those voices to be heard.
Loyola, a school that is 78% White, is unique in its position in Baltimore, a city whose population is 63% Black. Bringing forth the values that guide my work for justice, I have been able to engage students in my campus community with the community that is graciously housing our institution, and taking steps towards deconstructing the social borders that divide "us from them." My approach to shutting down these larger systems of injustices consists of educating and engaging. I am constantly learning ways to use my privileges in action by engaging in relationship-building and drawing near to people most affected. Having difficult conversations with others is a form of action I've grown to embrace to share the knowledge I've learned through my encounters. Other forms of advocacy that have shaped my approach include a campus movement highlighting the intersection of gun violence and racism, and the Kino Border Initiative immersive experience which I've translated into action in my local community. My approach is guided by the need for bridge-building rather than border-building, and this can be possible by legislative change, equitable access to resources, and celebration of the identities that shape our community.