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La Voz de Nuestros Lideres: Jossie Flor Sapunar, LULAC National Intern

Posted by Jossie Flor Sapunar on 11/21/2011 @ 12:20 PM

Arizona’s SB 1070 came to me as a shock. Living in a more tolerant community in the outskirts of Baltimore City, I never perceived that Latinos would so blatantly be discriminated in an age that already fought (and won) the battle for universal civil rights. As I tried to calm my indignation, I realized the anachronism of the law. Surely Martin Luther King Jr. had triumphed in equalizing the playing field for everyone of color. Cesar Chavez paved the road for Latino rights. What, then, was this law doing in a democratic age of tolerance and equality?

As I searched for some satisfying answer, I was introduced to LULAC, the largest and oldest civil rights and advocacy group, which sought to comprehensively advance the condition of Latinos in the U.S. In my quiet part of Baltimore, I had never encountered such direct prejudice of this magnitude but I was distraught in discovering that in this great nation, so hailed as being guided by equality and freedom, that in the mighty, God-graced country of the United States of America, discrimination still prevailed. I was beyond crestfallen.

I realized that I had been living in ignorance. Others lauded my intelligence—my own father bragged to his friends that his daughter would be graduating from the Johns Hopkins University, a competitive, world-renowned institute of higher learning. Yet, this so-called intelligence was limited to mere book knowledge of academic theory and ideals. My further research confirmed that I had been shielded by my well-intentioned family of the true condition of the United States.

I knew I had to join LULAC to help them succeed in their mission.

So here I write today, sitting in the LULAC National Office. I have been a communications intern for more than a month and my time here has allowed me to write press releases, opinion-editorials, news articles, testimonies, Congressional letters, and documentary supplements. I have researched historical, societal, economic, and political issues and their impact on the Latino community. The experience has rounded me out and opened my eyes to the full reality of the U.S. Gerrymandering, racial profiling, and unequal opportunities exist, and, through the power of my words, I can help reverse their damaging effects.

Once I leave, I will continue this mission elsewhere. Others should be able to live in the same utopia I did as a young undergraduate—studying until late with brothers and sisters of every color and creed, and knowing that nothing hinders us from success except our own personal ambition. Through the continued efforts of organizations like LULAC, this vision will cease to be some lofty faraway dream and will instead materialize into a universal existence, and for that I am grateful to have participated in the LULAC mission, which, I trust will, one day, be satisfied.

“They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” –Andy Warhol


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