Malaya Caligtan-Tran, a third year student at Pitzer College, is a student leader with a wide range of experience with non-profit organizations, labor organizing and leadership. Malaya has worked on creating change and awareness about issues through being a part of CAPAS, Robert Redford Conservancy, Writing Center fellow, and IPMP. During her first year at Pitzer, she co-organized a series of informational posters with the Indigenous Peer Mentoring Program (IPMP) to bring awareness to Native Hawaiian Independence Day. As active in IPMP as a person whose maternal ancestry is from the Kankana-ey Igorot , an indigenous group of the Philippines. Currently Malaya has been working to build more programs for Indigenous students with efforts to establish an Indigenous Studies department.
Attending hotel union organizing meetings, reproductive justice protests, Hawaiian sovereignty events, actions against fascist dictators, and legislative meetings at the State Capitol characterized my childhood. I was raised in a multi-issue household; we understood that interlocking systems of oppression create injustice. Deconstructing these systems require actively participating and building connections across different communities. Through my work in college at the Center for Asian Pacific American Students and as a mentor for the Indigenous Peer Mentoring Program I’ve been able to connect struggles that affect communities across these different identities. Through CAPAS I’m able to create programming engaging these issues and pushing the dialogue towards intersectional solutions. As a mentor I have the privilege of working with other Indigenous students on campus from communities within Turtle Island and beyond. We’ve mobilized to demand a Native American/Indigenous Studies department and major, a physical space on campus, and tangible support for students. In addition to creating dialogue and organizing events that push for visibility and material support for issues relevant to our respective communities’, core to our program is engaging with the local Tongva community. Organizing gives me a chance to center community engagement and collaboration for social justice.