I am constantly meeting fascinating individuals – people whose struggles and triumphs divulge a whole universe of inspiration. It was on my way to work one day – right there in the middle of the 94 California bus – that I had my eureka moment. I decided I was going to interview inspiring, “everyday” individuals; by sharing their stories, I would weave a human narrative whose common theme would be to propel us to engage the personal power within each of us to create change.
Among the first of these people is a good friend of mine, Alejandra Rolon-Campise. I first met Alejandra my freshman year of college in our Model UN class. The fact that English was not her first language, and that she was the eldest in a class full of 19 to 20-somethings did not seem to perturb her. Rather, she jumped right into our class discussions, filling the room with her knowledge, good humor, and love for learning.
With her two young daughters in tow, Alejandra left her home in Mexico to be with the man she loved in the United States. It was here, she was forced to “reinvent” herself – taking ESL classes, getting her GED, and despite the hurdles of studying in a different language, she graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Benedictine University. That same year, she attained US citizenship, and was also accepted into UIC’s NEW Illinois Leadership Program, which seeks to promote women’s representation in the government.
Next up, Ale plans to get her master’s in public policy and international relations with the hope of working for global women’s empowerment initiatives.
Tune in to Alejandra’s interview and see what this “ordinarily extraordinary” woman is all about:
Music: “Mojado” by Ricardo Arjona
In Ale’s words:
On Women’s Education –
“I really, truly believe that if girls get educated, if they have access to knowledge, they will be empowered by themselves because they will find the strength inside of them, and then we can all change the world and change our country. I do believe women are the hope of this world, to become a better place in all countries of the world.”
On Immigration Reform –
“This nation is made for immigrants. And I think if you think about it, all the world is made of immigrants. That’s how humanity developed – we moved from one place to the other, to the other, to the other, and then we all ended up in so many places and we populated the world. So I don’t understand why this has been such a big issue in this country.”