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2004 Romero Finalists

biographical sketches

Alejandro Betancur is a Psychology major and a member of the Honors Program in the College of Arts and Science. Following graduation, he plans to study and work in Colombia, where he will have the opportunity to undertake counseling placements in communities that could not otherwise afford such services; subsequently he plans to complete a doctorate. He has been an active volunteer throughout his undergraduate years, especially at the Boston Living Center where he works with people living with AIDS. For him, the challenge of Oscar Romero is to find "how can I work for justice?" and he emphasizes Romero's reminder that "social justice cannot wait until saints or heroes emerge."

Raffi Garcia combines the study of Economics and Latin American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences with service as an officer of OLAA (Organization of Latin American Affairs) and as a tutor and mentor to younger Latino students; he is also a member of Boston College Latino dance troupes, and has worked in a number of offices on campus. Seeing the pain of poverty in his native Dominican Republic, and living now in "the richest country in the world," on the model of Romero he feels a "responsibility to be that voice that rises advocating for our pain." He plans to do graduate work in developmental economics, and hopes to "design policies that will decrease inequality and increase education in third-world countries."

Arivee Vargas has been an active OLAA member since her freshman year. As director of social and political action she organizes programs and events designed to raise "pertinent issues regarding the Latino community." Regularly serving as a tutor to children and youth, she has also been a preceptor at Boston College for the Options Through Education program. With a major in sociology and a minor in Latin American Studies, she looks forward to further study that will prepare her "to tackle the educational inequalities that further oppress the Latino community in the US." A "Latina who intends to fight for the betterment of her community," she finds in Archbishop Romero the "voice of truth, hope and love" that sustains the struggle.

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