BY Amy Fan
May 31, 2016
Junior Lupe Galindo, a Blum Ambassador, will be interning during the summer with the UC San Diego Blum Center’s Cross Border Initiative. During this internship, Galindo will be doing fieldwork and also doing research in a lab to understand and find methods to alleviate poverty.
The program will begin in July and run for eight weeks. Galindo will be stationed in San Ysidro, the American side of the border, near San Diego. Galindo will be using her community-building and Spanish-speaking skills to aid her work during this time. She notes that both communities alongside the border, San Ysidro and Tijuana, are very similar in standards of living.
No stranger to humanitarian efforts, Galindo worked in events and outreach and assisted events like the Global Food Summit and Water Crisis Panel as a Blum Ambassador. She is a teacher for Global Connect, an internship program under social sciences that teaches students about global issues at local high schools. She was also a moderator at the 2016 Reclaim Mental Health Conference.
Galindo talks about how her experiences growing up with altruistic parents led her to her future work in teaching children and raising awareness about poverty.
“When I was growing up, for 10 years my parents opened our home and we would make lunches – sandwiches, rice, beans for everyone. We would go to Van Nuys and alleys and there would be so many homeless people, and they would line up and we would give them their lunches. At the time, I didn’t understand the extent of their living conditions. I thought we were just giving them food and they would go home but there was no home for them. As I got older, I did realize the impact that we made – after that I definitely wanted to help.”
Galindo also experienced working with underprivileged communities as a tutor for children from low-income housing projects in the San Fernando Valley.
“When I remember applying to that tutoring program, I didn’t know much about the San Fernando Valley because I went to [a high school where] everyone that grew up there wasn’t affected of these things. Getting to know them, they would tell me, ‘the water and the faucet isn’t working,’ and it’s completely normal for them. These kids are not living the same childhood I did in terms of sustainability. A lot of their older siblings were involved with crime. But also, a lot where going to college and pursuing a higher education. Making sure that they got that example was key to these students.”
At Global Connect, Galindo was able to be part of an effort that published a textbook for the high schoolers that she volunteers to teach. Galindo focused on a section on Syria and she was able to connect with a Syrian refugee to give his first-hand perspective on the war for the book. Aside from publishing a textbook for the class, Galindo held workshops, assignments and did research under the program.
Galindo speaks proudly of the Blum Center and their efforts in just the first year, calling her experience “amazing” and saying that they “open so many doors.” For her future at the Blum Center during the Cross Border Initiative, she is looking forward to being able to be there in person and working directly with community members.
In the future, Galindo wants to go to law school to study human rights and work in non-profits. She truly believes in focusing on not on how much one makes, but how much of a different that she will be making.
She is excited also that UCI has a law school with an investment in human rights. “Knowing that our law school is involved with this kind of work is amazing, [I’ll] probably stay here forever.”