May 25, 2023

JSI Scholar: Luz Escobar

Tell us about your story

I am a Nicaraguense immigrant living in a community where white supremacist culture persists and is memorialized in the namesakes throughout our city, streets, and schools. My hometown of St. Rose is part of an 85-mile stretch of chemical plants that pollute my home and community. Being at Villanova has opened my eyes to the impact of these injustices. Better aware of the depth of ignorance pertaining to these injustices and the inaction that persists, I recommitted to learning about the racial state and its impact on Latinas and how to efficiently empower Latinas to create change. My classes fueled my curiosity and taught me the power of fostering dialogue, a first step in bridging divides. Over the past three years, I have intentionally used my voice to build bridges and understanding among students in the predominantly white environment of my university. I began by facilitating dialogue that touches on privilege, power, and identity to hundreds of students at my university through the Villanova Diversity Skit. Through the Center for Access Success and Achievement, I am currently leading discussions on the lack of diverse art on our campus, as well as the fatigue students of color feel because of continued stereotyping and microaggressions. Simultaneously, I lead initiatives for organizations like Poderistas and Latinas Inspiring Furthering Education that increase Latina civic engagement. As I phone banked to help 2,000 Latinx voters register to vote in the state of Georgia, created designs that reached 100,000 people that inform and celebrate North Carolina Latinas, and marshaled a voting event for Latinas during the 2022 election, I began to see the beauty and power in our community. The impact of the work I initiated and assisted in shows me the change and justice I seek in Louisiana are possible, something I did not believe in before.

What made you consider a career in public policy/public service/international affairs?

I am considering a career in public policy because of the impact policy and public service has on marginalized communities. I desire to learn about solutions that tackle the underrepresentation of Latinas in elected offices and the need for more programming for Latinas in Louisiana. I see myself leading national nonprofits that are providing campaign resources, enhancing political networks for Latinas, and addressing the barriers that deny Latinas access to state and local offices. I dream of building a strong statewide network that will generate policy change that ensures Latinas who want to hold political office run successful local, state, or federal campaigns.

Who inspires you to think about public service?

I am inspired by the work of Latina leaders like Yadira Sanchez, executive director of Poder Latinx , whose work and commitment are showing the country that Latinx voters matter and we can determine elections.

What are you most excited about the JSI program at UW?

I am most excited to meet everyone in this year’s cohort and confront challenges together as a group of passionate leaders who want to create change within our own communities but as a family as well.