The award recognizes a Boston College junior who exemplifies Latino cultural traditions and heritage, as well as the values and ideals inherent in Archbishop Romero's life - notably the dedication and sacrifice to community that has inspired many Latin Americans and others who believe in and fight for social justice.
A brief look at this year's scholarship candidates:
Leonardo Aldridge has worked to maintain a link between his native Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican community in the United States, especially through his writing for Claridad, the oldest newspaper in Puerto Rico. Motivated by his study of liberation theology and his close ties to his home, he has worked in Boston with the organization Latinos and Latinas for Social Change. A major in economics and Hispanic Studies, he is class representative to the BC Puerto Rican Association and works as a Spanish tutor for the Academic Development Center and AHANA Student Programs. He plans to study law and to continue working as a journalist in Puerto Rico.
As a member of a Salvadoran family, Carol Huezo learned early on about the legacy of Archbishop Romero. A student in the Lynch School of Education, she has sought opportunities to serve those who experience suffering and injustice and, through her study of human development, to understand the conditions which bring about such problems. She has volunteered with the Carney Hospital Starlight Program for children, the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and Teen Voices, a non-profit magazine written by and for teenage girls. Huezo has been active with the University's Organization of Latin American Affairs, served on the boards of the 48 Hours Council and the AHANA Leadership Council and worked as an orientation leader. During the recent winter break, she participated in the Ignacio Volunteers service and immersion trip to Tijuana, Mexico.
Since she was a high school student in Mexico City, Audrey Martinez says, she has regarded Archbishop Romero as a role model: A quiet scholar who, faced with injustice, became a courageous man of action. An International Studies major focusing on Latin America, Martinez hopes to attend law school and then to work in mediating US-Latin American issues, and to defend and advocate for victims of injustice. Founder of the Buddhist Club at Boston College, and an active participant and volunteer in the international Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, Martinez says she seeks to follow Archbishop Romero's example by her strong belief in the obligation to resist injustice through a non-violent response that relies on dialogue.
Roystone Martinez is vice president of the Organization of Latin American Affairs and has worked since his freshman year with AHANA organizations, especially OLAA and the Caribbean Culture Club. His activities include internships with the Presidential Classroom in Washington, DC, and with Prevention Now, an anti-violence program for elementary school students. A graduate of the Boston public schools and a student in the Lynch School of Education who plans to serve as a guidance counselor in city schools, Martinez consistently seeks ways to mentor urban students and to encourage greater educational opportunities for them.
Currently in Cameroon as part of her Junior Year Abroad experience, Venezuelan native Vanessa Salas is a sociology major. She attributes her interest in social justice issues to her participation as a freshman in the Nicaragua Immersion Program, which led to her focus on the impact of domestic violence on women. The teachings of Archbishop Romero, she says, have provided her with perspective on what an individual can do to effect change. She plans upon her return to BC to continue her commitment to the prayer group, the Community of Sant' Egidio, and its emphasis on solidarity and friendship with the poor. Salas also will seek to continue her research on domestic violence and hopes to participate again in the Nicaragua program.
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