Aida began participating in the Crossroads Collaborative through Kore Press with her work on the Grrls Literary Activism Project as well as through her participation with Sarah Gonzales in a YWCA Racial Justice Summer Camp, Nuestra Voz, where she learned to exercise her own voice in the public sphere. Her experiences through Kore Press and Nuestra Voz have helped her integrate her efforts as both a scholar and activist. Today, she attends Scripps College in Claremont, California.
When asked about the impact of her experiences with Crossroads and through Kore Press and Nuestra Voz, Aida discussed two experiences that she relates to her work with these organizations. First, she was invited to help found and edit a feminist literary magazine by and for marginalized communities at Scripps College which has evolved to become “Our Sound (maga)ZINE.” Her work with Kore Press prepared her to excel at such an opportunity. In her first year, the editorial team has published 2 issues. Both issues have had successful release parties with ongoing support from the Scripps community.
Next, Aida drew from her experience in Nuestra Voz to inform her participation in a college class titled “Race and American Capitalism.” This class accepts students who are already committed to racial and economic justice. Together, they interned for an organization in Los Angeles called the Labor/Community Strategy Center. The center has a few main campaigns - one working to end the school-to-prison pipeline, the other working towards transit justice and ending environmental racism. As interns, student rode buses around LA, asking people to sign petitions and handing out information. They also participated in workshops and meetings. Her work with Nuestra Voz furthered her interest to be active in education reform. J. Sarah Gonzales, the codirector of Spoken Future Voices and Principal Consultant of TruthSarita describes Aida as “phenomenal because she so wholeheartedly digs into an issue while simultaneously ensuring that people who are most deeply impacted by the issue are represented in the solutions through their own voices.”
These experiences have helped Aida develop as both an activist and a student; they have also helped her develop a sense of what kind of activism is most meaningful to her. Aida says that, “Different people offer different strengths to the activist world. I believe we should not overlook artistic approaches to making change. Working with Kore Grrls and Nuestra Voz helped expand my idea of what activism looks like and engrained in me the importance of writing, art, music, and speech in change making.”
Aida spent this summer in Lima working with two companies that collaborate with artisans across Peru to create natural, handmade products. She shared that these companies are “committed to sustainable fashion, using only handmade techniques and natural materials (primarily alpaca wool).” While in Peru, Aida collected photographs, interviewed artisans, and wrote stories to create blog posts, social media content and web content She “loves being able to promote an ethical company through photography and graphics.” She had the privilege to document the knitting and wool dyeing processes traditional to artisan communities. Ultimately, this work focuses on voices and story telling. It was a challenge to shift her practices to a business setting, but as she notes it was “incredibly valuable to explore how marketing can be used as a space to feature the laborers, the artisans who are often erased from the fashion world.” Her training in activism influenced her work in Peru by reminding her of the importance of combining both art and activism.
Aida is double majoring in Media Studies and Spanish with a focus on social justice . She is also the president of Mariachi Serrano de Claremont and dances hip-hop. This year she will be mentoring incoming Chican@s/Latin@s at Scripps College.