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Felina Rodriguez is a current student at Arizona State University studying political science, and Spanish literature and culture. With the help of the Undergraduate Travel Support grant issued by ASU's School of Politics and Global Studies (SPGS), Rodriguez was able to attend a conference on racial issues held at the UCLA School of Law.
After college, Rodriguez plans to attend law school. She hopes to study Native American law, as well as immigration and international law. She has also applied for a position with Teach for America.
After returning from her experience, Rodriguez sat down to tell us about her experience:
Q: What was it like to attend this conference?
Answer: As I am at a huge crossroads, and as I am writing my honors thesis, I was debating between law school and graduate school, Dr. Scott mentioned the conference to me and I applied for funding through SPGS. It was incredible to attend this conference. I was blown away by all the people that have interest in having these discussions about race. The conference focused on critical race theory, and was a symposium through the UCLA School of Law. [It] was divided into four panels: "Restoring the White Nation: The Racializing of Immigrants," "Racialized State Violence," "Racial Neoliberalism" and "White Supremacy, Race and Resistance: Social Movements in the Post-Trump Era."
Q: What were some of your takeaways from this experience?
A: My key takeaways from the conference was being able to get into contact with prominent lawyers and activists that spoke during the last panel. I was able to meet with one of the policy makers for Lambda Legal, who worked with LUCHA and Basta Arpaio during the 2016 election here in Arizona. I also was able to speak with one of the director of the LA Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, who participated and organized the LAX protests. Not only was I able to hear these two incredible women speak, but I was also able to get their contact info to continue my organizing work here in Arizona. I found a lot of solidarity among the speakers in the last panel, due to their ability to take their education into action. As an activist, I am humbled by being around so many individuals that have done incredible work.
Q: What advice would you give those who are interested in a similar experience?
A: To any other students that have attended conferences, or with to attend future conferences, do so. And don't feel that your financial situation will hold you back. The only reason I was able to attend the conference was through a travel award from SPGS.
Written by Henry Campbell