Alumnus of the Month
Gladis Molina - August 2015 Alumnus of the Month
Name: Gladis Molina
Hometown: Long Beach, CA
CHCI Program(s)/Year: Public Policy Fellowship, 2002-2003
CHCI Program Placement(s): Office of Congressman Xavier Becerra
Current Position/Organization: Senior Staff Attorney, Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP), Florence, AZ
1. Many CHCI alumni and current program participants have battled and continue to battle common challenges as they strive to become Latino leaders in their communities: living and working in low-income communities, some in single-parent households, as recent immigrants, DREAMERS, or first-generation American citizens. What challenges did you have to face to get to where you are today?
In 1990, I immigrated to the United States from El Salvador. I was 10 years old then and did not speak any English. I was undocumented until my junior year of college. Growing up with parents who never attended school themselves gave me an appreciation for an education.
2. What motivated you to apply to the CHCI program(s), and why do you think they are important for Latino youth?
My college professor and mentor, Dr. Ron Schmidt, told me about CHCI. I did not have a job or graduate school lined up after graduation, so I applied. The (CHCI public policy) fellowship opened up a whole new world to me on the East Coast. I had no idea what life on the East Coast was like as a Central American immigrant who grew up in California.
3. What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?
In 2003, I enrolled at University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law. In 2006, I went to South Texas to work with unaccompanied minors who immigrate to the United States. This is the work I have been doing as an attorney ever since.
4. What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?
(My CHCI experience) gave me a feeling that I belonged at the table and that my personal contribution to immigration law was not something to leave on the table for others to decide.
5. How do you continue to give back to the community?
I serve the immigrant community, particularly children, in Arizona. In 2011, I came here because I wanted to do something about what is happening here. In 1995, I was 15 years old when Proposition187 was passed in California and I remember feeling afraid of being (expelled) from high school because of my immigration status. When I moved to Arizona, I was a 30 year old and a licensed attorney from California. (Now,) there was something I could do for others – so here I am.
6. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years, and what do you still want to achieve?
(In 5-10 years, I see myself) doing immigration law; growing in my understanding of what shapes the immigration debate at the heart of it all. I want to write a book about my personal story to contribute to other children who can see themselves in me.
7. What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?
Expose yourself to everything you can; the world really is small. Be open and connect with others on a human level. Stand for something, not against something. When you hit a fork in the road, guide yourself by that purpose/vision for you stand. For example, I stand for love and justice. Sometimes justice does not come from a court proceeding for an immigrant child; sometimes it comes merely from being heard and validated. My stand sometimes lives on in simply being with a child rather than litigating a claim. Be your stand. Sometimes it may not look like what others expect. Nevertheless, be your stand. Stand tall. Stand steady. When you stand in your vision, the universe will meet you.
Past Alumni of the Month
Michael Anthony Vargas - July 2015 Alumni of the Month
Desiree Flores - June 2015 Alumna of the Month
Guillermo Raya - May 2015 Alumni of the Month
Nathaly Arriola - April 2015 Alumnus of the Month
Miguel A. Blancarte, Jr. - March 2015 Alumni of the Month
Martha L. Bahamón - February 2015 Alumni of the Month
2013-14 CHCI Alumni Executive Board - January 2015 Alumni of the Month
Mariana Kihuen - December 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Henry Fernandez - November 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Ricardo Zavala - September 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Miryam Catherine Granthon-Gerdine - August 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Angelica Reza Wind - July 2014 Alumna of the Month
Ray Mateo - June 2014 Alumni of the Month
Hayde Calderon - May 2014 Alumni of the Month
Arnoldo Avalos - April 2014 Alumni of the Month
Elizabeth Cedillo - March 2014 Alumni of the Month
Marvin Figueroa - February 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Cris Garza - January 2014 Alumnus of the Month
Jaden Felix - December 2013 Alumni of the Month
2013 Distinguished Alumni - October/November 2013 Alumni of the Month
Fabiola Carrion - September 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Juan C. Otero- August 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Norma Dominguez - July 2013 Alumni of the Month
Francisco Heredia - June 2013 - Alumnus of the Month
Raymond Rico - May 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Alejandra Castillo - April 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Yara Lorenzo - March 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Antonio E. Sandoval & Milagros “Mimi” Aledo-Sandoval - Alumni Couple of the Month
Abel Herrero - January 2013
Jessie Mosqueda - December 2012
Kenia Seoane Lopez - CHCI Alumnus November 2012
Hon. Liza Rodriguez - 2012 Distinguished Alumnus & October 2012 Alumnus
Melissa Chabran - CHCI Alumnus June 2012
Jessie Ulibarri - CHCI Alumnus May 2012
Congressional Staff-CHCI Alumni April 2012
Anthony Alcoser-CHCI Alumnus March 2012
Diana Mendoza-CHCI Alumnus February 2012
Betsaida Alcantara-CHCI Alumnus December 2011
Orson Aguilar - CHCI 2011 Distinguished Alumnus & September 2011 Alumnus
Cynthia T. Cruz-CHCI Alumnus August 2011
Miguel Lopez - CHCI Alumnus July 2011
Alejandro Becerra - CHCI Alumnus June 2011
Staff Members for the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy - CHCI Alumnus May 2011
Happy 30th Anniversary CHCI Fellowship Program!
Raul Magdaleno - CHCI Alumnus March 2011
Carlos Elizondo -- CHCI Alumnus December 2010
Ana M. Polanco -- CHCI Alumnus April 2010
Sami Hamed -- CHCI Alumnus March 2010
Couple Edition -- CHCI Alumnus February 2010
CHCI Alumni Association Chapters' Special Edition - October 2009
Edith Rocío Robles -- CHCI Alumnus August 2009
Silvia Inéz Salazar--CHCI Alumnus July 2009
Francisco J. Uribe CHCI Alumnus June 2009
Heidy Servin-Baez CHCI Alumnus April 2009
March 2009: White House Edition
William (Bill) Arce CHCI Alumnus February 2009
Stephanie Valencia CHCI Alumnus January 2009
Miguel Ayala CHCI Alumnus December 2008
Eric Rodriguez-CHCI Alumnus November 2008
Sonia Ramirez CHCI Alumnus October 2008
Mildred Otero CHCI Alumnus September 2008
Juan Ciscomani CHCI Alumus August 2008
Leo Prieto CHCI Alumnus July 2008
Octavio Saenz CHCI Alumnus June 2008