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Marilyn Barnes in Barcelona #

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Marilyn Barnes '17

Brighton, Illinois

Major in Anthropology-Sociology, Minors in Spanish and Social Service

Marilyn is co-president of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztla) and hopes to continue her activism after graduating.

Marilyn Barnes in Barcelona

How did you become involved in MEChA and why has it become important to you?

I first got involved with MEChA winter term of my first year. After the first meeting, I kept going because I want to learn more about Mexican and Chican@ culture. Growing up I always felt out of place. My father is American. My mother is half Mexican and half American. My grandfather did not teach his children much about their culture. They know they are Mexican because he is Mexican. The same has happened for me, except I am even further away from understanding.

I have not only learned so much about my culture, but also about the struggles that my ancestors have gone through and what my people are still going through. I am a part of the fight for justice for my people. I am Chican@. I am a student activist not only fighting for the Chican@ nation, but also for other minorities struggling to strive in this world. It isn't just about me finding who I am, it's about fighting for what is right. I finally have found where I belong. I will continue to learn and to fight alongside many other activists.

What are your future plans? How do you think that your involvement in MEChA will benefit you in the future?

I will always be an activist, and always be Chican@. MEChA has helped me improve my leadership skills and broadened the way I think. As a long-term career, I want to help prevent gang violence in Chicago and promote higher level education to Latinos across the city of Chicago. I would also like to join the Peace Corps and travel to South America to help in whatever way I can. It has always been a thought, but because of MEChA I am positive that it is something I want to do.

What has been your most memorable experience while at Knox?

All of my MEChA experiences are memorable. Each and every event we hold is unique in their own way. My favorite event thus far is our Day of the Dead presentation we held last year. So many people came out to hear Claudia Fernandez, [associate professor of modern languages-Spanish], give a presentation on the meaning behind the Day of the Dead. I learned so much from the presentation.

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Printed on Friday, August 18, 2017

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