Melissa Calvo-Vides

Roger Williams University

Melissa has always been involved in addressing social justice issues. As an immigrant woman of color in a predominantly white institution, she stands in her experience and stands up for those in oppressed communities. A few weeks into her first year at RWU, she became the Public Relations Chair for the Multicultural Student Union, where she worked hard to bring cultural and social justice awareness to campus. During her time she helped plan events that celebrated Black History, Hispanic Heritage, and overall culture. Melissa also assisted in developing panels that educated students on indigenous history, immigration, ability/disability, intersectionality, and more. In the midst of the deaths George Lloyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Melissa created a group chat with over 30 people to support and encourage students of color who were struggling. Those folks assisted in the organization of the Black Lives Matter Peaceful Demonstration on campus. After that, Melissa hosted Zoom meetings twice a week throughout the semester as a safe space and a time to brainstorm on how to continue to bring positive change on campus. The support that she contributed to the community during this time is astounding and should be recognized.

Ioannis Miaoulis
Roger Williams University

Personal Statement

I have always been involved in addressing social justice issues, as I have seen how people who look like me are mistreated in America. I am an immigrant woman of color, I have no other option but to stand in my experience and stand up for those in oppressed communities. Just a few weeks into freshman year I became the PR chair for the Multicultural Student Union. I worked with the Chief Diversity Officer to share my experience at panels and give BIPOC students the inspiration to be in college. During the College Map First Generation Panel I shared my story of being 11 years old moving to the U.S. knowing zero English - not thinking higher education was a possibility. I told them that if I can do it, they can too. Every year I find myself with more strength to stand up against injustice. The Black Lives Matter movement was brought to RWU, but not by only me, but that those who stand in their lived experience, in their color of their skin, who stand in their oppression, but know that one-day things will change and equity and inclusion will be the norm.

Melissa Calvo-Vides
Public Relations: Class of 22-May
written 2021

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