Honors Spotlight: Daniela Rivero ’21!

Hello Honorites!

Daniela Rivero ’21, a sophomore Sociology major with a Latin American Studies Minor,  shared her experiences working with the School of the Americas Watch and going to the Annual Border Encuentro in Arizona! Daniela is also an intern with the U.S. Latin Relations at Cornell University and is currently studying abroad in New Zealand!
Find out more about Daniela by reading below!
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How you got involved in working at the School of Americas?

Daniela: “I got involved with School of the Americas Watch (SOA) after attending their Fall and Spring semester events last school year. In addition to being among the seven students that went to the Encuentro with the Politics Department to participate in the actions and lead a workshop, I was invited by a couple of the organizers to join the Media Collective. While there, I helped the SOA Watch team with logistics as we prepared for our weekend, creating social media content and preparing statements to be released to the public. I learned a lot about what it takes to put on these events and movements, and about what it is like to live as a social organizer.”

 

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What happened/what did you learn at the Border Encunetro?

Daniela: “The actual Encuentro was a three day event of workshopping, actions, and collective solidarity building.

The first day we held demonstrations at Milkor USA, and arms manufacturer in Tucson, AZ, that makes weapons including grenades that are used to violently repress migrants. That night, we held a vigil at the Eloy Detention center, the deadliest prison in the United States where countless migrant peoples are being held and subjected to inhumane conditions.

Our Saturday was workshop day, and the IC Border Encuentro Group lead a workshop on “Youth Mobilizing Against Border Imperialism” in we opened with a presentation on what border imperialism is and how it affects communities. We based our analysis on the works of Harsha Walia and Todd Miller, who wrote “Undoing Border Imperialism” and “Storming the Wall”.

For the second half of our workshop we opened up the floor for discussion and contributions from those who attended, and we got to hear about efforts of resistance and solidarity in campuses across the country, as well as the experiences of young people living in militarized zones like Nogales, Arizona.”

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What you do as an intern with the U.S. Latin Relations at Cornell University?
Daniela: “At Cornell University, I am one of the interns at the Committee on U.S. Latin America Relations. Each semester, we host events and produce a News Letter that highlights issues surrounding Latin America.
This past semester, we brought Enrique Morones of Border Angels and Dr. Angel Pichardo Almonte, a doctor practicing holistic medicine in the Dominican Republic.
We also hosted a panel discussion on the future of Mexico-U.S. Relations in the new era of President Andres Manuela Lopez Obrador’s administration.
Our Winter/Spring 2019 Newsletter can be found here! 
Thanks to the speakers brought to Cornell through CUSLAR, the weekly meetings with our Mexico working group, and our work researching and compiling pieces for the Newsletter, I have gained lots of valuable knowledge and insight on grassroots movements across Latin America, and on the issues surrounding U.S. imperialism in Latin America that encompass and connect all of us.”

 

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What are some lessons learned or new perspectives that were gained by going through these experiences?

Daniela: “Two big takeaways for me were:

1) Just how privileged my classmates and I are to be politically active in our IC community without having to fear for our safety and freedom, and how this underscores our responsibility to make visible to experiences of those who are most oppressed under our military-industrial political structure.”

2) Everything is everything. The issues we see at the border are the same ones we see iterated in our own communities. The same mechanisms that separate migrant families separate communities of color by disproportionately imprisoning our mothers and fathers. This means that when we understand that interrelation between all issues: migrant rights, indigenous rights, climate change, settler colonial imperialism, the prison-industrial complex and the military industrial complex, we understand that attacking one of these issues means attacking all of these issues. This is why networks of trans-national solidarity are so important.”