What’s your vision for the future, Matadors? The University Student Union here at CSUN wants to know what drives your fight and inspires your advocacy during the I Advocate for Justice virtual panel event. Come join us for a dynamic experience led by CSUN’s Black Leadership Council, tell us what cause you’re championing and share the passion you’re advocating for with your University Student Union… Where Matadors Belong!
USU: I Advocate for Justice — Virtual Panel Event
Racquel “Rocky” Holloway — Co-Facilitator
Racquel Holloway, affectionately known as Rocky, is originally from San Diego but came to CSUN to further her knowledge in health as a Public Health major. She is the 2020-2021 Black Student Leadership Council President (BSLC). The BSLC serves as the umbrella organization for all Black clubs and organizations at CSUN. The purpose of the council is to ensure the growth and development of all Black students through academics, outreach and social events, as well as building a sense of community so that our Black students feel connected and supported throughout their college experience.
Olani LaBeaud is a fourth-year student at CSUN studying Political Science — Law and Society. She is from the Inland Empire and decided to attend CSUN due to the diversity and range of programs that cater to the unique interests of its students. During her duration here, she has participated in many organizations to enhance the experience of her peers and herself. These clubs include Black Student Union, Black Girl Magic, csuNaturals, Camp Matador, and the CSUN Forensics Speech and Debate Team. Some of her passions include social justice and shedding light on the experiences of marginalized communities. Olani advocates for systemic change in various social institutions that continue to create barriers for Black students, including in education. Furthermore, she enjoys civic engagement to uplift those who are treated secondary regarding access and resources to living sustainable lives currently and in the future. She believes in utilizing your talents or passions as fuel towards creating a society where all can live comfortably and their identities are acknowledged.
Melanie Alvarez is a senior majoring in Political Science and a minoring in Community and Civic Engagement. Since her start at California State University, Northridge she has been a part of nonprofit organizations on- and off-campus. Off-campus, she has interned with Inner City Struggle and Alliance for a Better Community. She engaged low-income communities on higher education and ways to become civically engaged through canvassing and registering people to vote. Melanie uses her passion for social justice and past involvement with the USU’s Diversity and Inclusion committee as a platform to advocate for cultural diversity. She is determined to be the voice for CSUN students by pushing for more inclusivity to enrich the college experience for everyone. Melanie voices her opinion for underrepresented communities and works hard to make a change that will continue benefiting future generations here at CSUN. As a first-generation college student, Melanie understands the barriers and challenges students may experience and, for that reason, continues to look for opportunities to advocate for equity, justice, and inclusivity. Melanie is now serving as the Chair for the USU’s Board of Directors.
As a first-generation student, formerly incarcerated and former foster youth, the adversity and challenges Alberto has faced have played an enormous role in molding his passions and what he advocates for. After struggling to find any meaningful work he quickly came to realize that in order to find his own strength and resiliency, it had to come through the form of self-empowerment and higher education. His commitment is to help the highly marginalized and underserved populations of former foster youth and formerly incarcerated. He is majoring in the Chicana/o Studies Masters Program in hopes of better connecting with at-risk youth to help empower them in finding their own resiliency and their own voice. He is involved with EOP as an Admissions Outreach Intern, EOP Resilient Scholars and the USU Board of Directors.
Helen Garcia is a Filipina-American. A second-year Social Work graduate student. A podcaster. Sister. Daughter. Granddaughter. Friend. Her mission is to ‘create context that matters’ through personal connection and social media. She uses Instagram, Twitter, and Podcasting as mediums to bring about unique perspectives for women of color, mental health, immigration, and culturally competent practice. She loves to unpack community stories to understand how people overcome adversity. Helen loves CSUN's dynamic, adaptable, and social justice education and believes the faculty and staff are curious and adaptable. She is currently a part of CSUN’s Social Work Society and, the IG based Social Work Advocacy Project, Asian American Pacific Islander Social Work Coalition (also known as @Soulcialworksummer on Instagram). As an undergraduate, she became fascinated with living and ‘dying well,’ in large part due to her former professor, Bernard McGrane, with whom she discussed the notion of death and dying. This inspired her to co-organize an event called, “Death is Inevitable, Dying Well is Optional” with professors from across the university and the CEO of Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation. Through these interactions, she gained invaluable experience treating the elderly, which is a population that she hopes to serve in her career as a social worker. Moreover, her Filipino-immigrant background allows her to recognize and affirm other people’s unique identities. She is passionate about racial justice and culturally specific community organization. She wants to improve outcomes for communities of color through policy analysis and advocacy.
Kaila Moore-Jones is a third-year student here at CSUN with a Major in Africana Studies. She is a Black woman and a member of the small but growing Black campus community. She came to CSUN with the hope of getting involved on campus and evolving to become a better leader for her community back home. She is from South Central and grew up on the Eastside of LA. Kaila is the current Vice President of the Housing affinity group, Black Girl Magic, as well as one of the Students for Quality Education (SQE) interns, and a WISDOM Peer Mentor through the USU. She advocates for the complete liberation of her people and members of the Afrikan Diaspora, and an end to all systemic racism.
Darion Dorris is starting his second year at CSUN and is majoring in Business Law. He is also the president of the Black Male Initiative. Darion's sibling was attending CSUN which motivated Darion to also attend CSUN. He is passionate about supporting and educating minority youth.