Immigrant Rights Activist
At age 6, AExME Council member Edith Cruz immigrated with her family from Aguascalientes, Mexico to Lexington, KY. Now a 19-year-old student at Bluegrass Community & Technical College, Edith is using her voice to advocate for immigrant rights and education equity for all.
How is “equity” different than “equality”? Edith explains that it’s all about getting students what they need as individuals, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all solution.
“My parents made so many sacrifices to get us to the United States to have a better future, so that really inspires me every day,”
“I remember the hours my parents spent working from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in order to have even food for us on the table. And just imagining the hard work they put in inspires me to keep going, and to give back to them by working hard.”
A brave and generous writer, photographer, speaker, organizer, and music fan (The 1975, Shawn Mendes, and Mexican band Zoé are some of her faves), Edith’s hard work takes the form of storytelling. Both her feature radio show, Sobre La Mesa, and episodes she contributed to her high school’s podcast, Lighting the Torch, have given refugees and immigrants like herself opportunities to tell their own stories.
“I don’t want to be the voice of everyone. I want everyone to be the voice of themselves,”
says Edith, who channels her voice into changing the world.
Looking for even more inspiration? Look no further than this excerpt from Edith’s favorite poem, “In Lak’Ech,” by Chicano playwright Luís Valdez:
Tú eres mi otro yo.
You are my other me.
Si te hago daño a ti,
If I do harm to you,
Me hago daño a mi mismo.
I do harm to myself.
Si te amo y respeto,
If I love and respect you,
Me amo y respeto yo.
I love and respect myself.
Meet all the members of the AExME Council here.