Building community and igniting civic engagement in Houston

Erika Alvarez is a second-year Dr. Anne Moses IGNITE Houston Fellow. Below, Erika shares more about her community involvement and passion for civic engagement. 

What I enjoy most about being involved in my community is the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on people's lives and contribute to positive change. My passion for civic engagement started when I immigrated to the United States from Venezuela at a young age. At first, I held faith in the American Dream, but I swiftly came to recognize the profound societal challenges, such as discrimination and prejudice, that existed. This awakening ignited my commitment to civic engagement and the pursuit of a more equitable society. As I became involved in high school activism and later in college, I learned that civic engagement is not limited to protest; it involves actively shaping policies, engaging with the policymaking process, and holding policy makers accountable. I witnessed the power of collective action and grassroots movements in driving policy change and addressing societal issues. 

I particularly enjoyed the complexity of civic engagement, where academic knowledge intersected with practical application. Through various roles and experiences, I gained a holistic perspective on how different facets of society are interconnected. Whether it was promoting inclusivity and diversity, addressing community needs, or advocating for underrepresented groups, each experience highlighted the importance of systems thinking and a comprehensive approach to effecting change. 

My involvement in civic engagement has reinforced my commitment to public action, and I look forward to continuing this journey in the future. It's incredibly fulfilling to work alongside dedicated individuals and organizations, such as IGNITE, to create a more just and equitable society.

Leave a Comment