Yami is a first-generation college student and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She is very passionate about sharing her voice and being a voice for others. At Juniata, she has taken leadership roles as President of the Juniata College Women’s Rugby team, Vice-President of the Juniata Democrats, and Treasurer of the Latin American Student Organization, where she has shown her commitment to creating a campus-environment for all. Her activism has its roots in her Mexican-American heritage, her desire to help her fellow Americans, and her yearning for justice in a diverse society. She was an intern for the Biden campaign this Fall, where she connected with Americans of different communities throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, both virtually and in-person, to achieve voter turnout during the 2020 election. This experience was so successful that her fellow field organizers treated her as one of their own and not simply an intern. Her internship became such a momentous experience that she hopes to continue field organizing immediately after graduation in her hometown of Phoenix, AZ. Upon hearing of being nominated for the Newman fellowship, she responded, "I want to be the tool that connects underrepresented communities with their political system."
As a first-generation Mexican-American, I endure the complexities of a hybrid culture. I can see both the beauty and faults in each upbringing and how they interconnect or disconnect. The harsh reality of the country we live in was veiled by my upbringing in South Phoenix where everyone looked alike or shared similar experiences. But after the 2016 election, I committed to no longer endure but to prevail by attending a college in pursuit of a degree in politics. At Juniata, I learned about the depth of that harsh reality and witnessed the injustices of systemic racism both locally and nationally. I focused on developing an environment that uplifts one-another, through my participation in sports and advocacy-based cultural clubs. I wanted to set an example of how everyone has a duty to be an activist. During 2020, I worked alongside many Pennsylvanian field organizers to encourage citizens of various backgrounds to participate in their democracy by voting. I hope to bring that activism back home to Arizona and continue the efforts of building a politically involved community during the 2022 midterms. I look forward to achieving this goal with the help of this fellowship.