Katherine Martinez, a sophomore at Providence College, is an active member of the the College and greater Providence community. A first-generation college student, Katherine's academic focus has been preparing herself to work as a physician in community health. But she began to broaden her interests after enrolling in a service-learning course and working with a middle school that combines a strong academic curriculum with critical reflection on issues of race, ethnicity, class, and gender. Katherine is now interested in understanding the intersections between community health and larger questions of social equity. Most recently, Katherine has been drawn into direct service and learning on proposed changes to US immigration policy, particularly as they pertain to college students. She is again using her gifts of service and reflection to learn about the issues and people affected, find her voice, and create space for learning and growth in a context of political conflict.
I was raised by two Latin American immigrants, in an urban community. Growing up I was always taught to love by respecting those around me, regardless of who they are. I was taught to respect, but through my childhood I realized that not everyone respected one another. Despite being honorable and respectful people, my parents have been shamed and insulted for speaking our native tongue, Spanish, as well as just being here in the United States. I quickly came to terms about how not only Latin American individuals are treated, but also people of color, Asian, African American, etc. As I started to become involved in community service work I was able to meet and listen to a variety of different stories, typically stories that have not been heard before. Attending a predominantly white institution, I have come to learn that every individual life and story is interconnected, for we all face adversity.