Miren Neyra Alcántara, student at Holyoke Community College, is an activist-scholar who brings others together to make her community and the world a better place. Passionate about elevating the voices of others, and a native of Mexico, Miren enrolled in HCC’s Latinx Studies concentration because of its interdisciplinary and community-engaged approach to the subject. A member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, peer tutor, member of the Student Advisory Board and president of HCC’s Latinx Empowerment Association, (LEA), Miren is a collaborator. As LEA president, she spearheaded a social media campaign titled “Celebrating the Latinx Community,” and developed student-led panels that were a collaboration between LEA, HCC’s Black Student Alliance, and Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke. Miren is a leader who prioritizes service to her community, volunteering with Climate Change Theater Action, Common Share Food Co-op, Wistariahurst Museum and SPARK Reproductive Justice. Miren fervently believes in social justice, and teaches ESL courses and a Spanish literacy program as part of Planting Literacy, which helps dedicated Central American immigrants improve their literacy skills.
I am passionate about transnational social justice and activism. My access to education in Mexico was very limited. I missed three years of highschool due to my family’s economic hardships. With postponing college and getting a job at a young age, I learned to appreciate everything I had, including and most importantly, the opportunity to further my education. My motivation comes from my passion for learning and a desire to make education accessible to all. As president of the Holyoke Community College Latinx Empowerment Association, I have organized numerous fundraising and community events in an effort to create a supportive and inclusive community within the college. Outside of HCC, I actively volunteer within many organizations, including the Head Start Planting Literacy program, which helps immigrants improve their literacy skills. Genuine inclusion, place making and representation are key to successfully make long lasting change. It is particularly imperative to avoid the ‘saviour complex’ when collaborating with communities of color and other marginalized communities. It’s not about me leading or saving anyone; it is about communities leading the way. I believe that genuine leadership is about continuous self-reflection of your positionality and privilege while trying to make change.