Daniela Vazquez Loriga ’22
Oscar Romero and Social Justice
Winning the Saint Oscar Romero Scholarship award was a complete shock to me. I had started the day with nervous jitters, but as the day went on, I felt very much at peace, reflecting on this year’s group of finalists and their impressive accomplishments. I had worked a five hour shift at the Ratt the day of the scholarship ceremony and by the time I arrived back at my dorm to get ready for the ceremony, I was just happy to join the virtual festivities and celebrate our accomplishments.
International politics and global relations have deeply affected my life and my family since I was born. As a Cuban immigrant, my family consisted of political exiles, refugees, and immigrants. Witnessing my family’s struggles against political oppression and poverty motivated me to pay attention to the relationship between governments and their people around the world. This curiosity spurred my interest in international human rights, social advocacy, and international justice. Throughout my IS experience, I’ve learned that these are many of the values Saint Oscar Romero embodied, and I applied for this scholarship because I felt drawn to his dedication to social justice and advocacy for his community. He was not afraid to question authority or the system. He stood his ground against the evils of injustice and the pressures of his oppressors. He was a resilient figure in the struggle for justice and dignity.
My time in the IS Program, and the diverse coursework I have taken within the major, have helped me realized my connection to Romero’s mission for social justice. My experience in IS has made me reflect on who I want to be and who this world needs me to be. Through my concentration in Ethics and Social Justice, I have gravitated strongly towards the path of human rights and international justice. My drive for social justice and aspiration for human rights advocacy are all birthed by one common factor: my outrage at the injustices of the world.
I often find myself looking around for someone to take responsibility or for someone to make it better, but the fact is, many critical issues feed on the timeless trend of injustice. I came to the conclusion that if I do not act to make a change, then who will? Seeing corruption in the world drives me to make the change I wish to see in society. In the end, my goal is to decrease, or entirely cease, systems of injustice and hatred, and contribute to an effort to restore happiness and justice. Oscar Romero once said, "Those who have a voice must speak for those who are voiceless." My goal is to represent those whose voices were stolen and help them seek justice and safety, overturning the heaps of injustices that plague our world. It is an honor to be awarded this scholarship that is attached to his astonishing character and his legacy of advocacy.
Daniela Vazquez Loriga ’22