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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Hispanic Heritage Month Student Spotlight: Angelica Sanabria

Written by Angelica Sanabria

During Hispanic Heritage month, the University of San Diego celebrates the rich history and culture of our Latino/Latinx and Hispanic communities. Hispanic Heritage Month is observed nationwide from September 15 through October 15.

Here at the Kroc School, we recognize the importance of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and acknowledge the historically impactful roles that Hispanic-identified individuals have played in building peace throughout our society. We honor the contributions of Hispanic peacebuilders by shining a light on our very own Hispanic-identifying students leading change and building more peaceful and just societies. Join us in celebrating these incredibly talented people.

Our second Hispanic Student we will be highlighting with El Salvadorian roots is Angelica Sanabria who is joining our MA in Peace and Justice and is set to graduate in Spring '23.

Where do your Hispanic roots stem from?

I identify as Latina. My parents migrated to the United States from El Salvador.

How would you describe your Hispanic Heritage?

Being Latina/e/o/x is very complicated. You can gather that from all the back slashes. Latinos are one of the largest populations in the United States, and even more so in San Diego, yet our perception of our whole identity is fractal. This is a direct product of European colonization, the practice of slavery, and indigenous erasure. The layers of identity brought on by colonization, race, language, and religion are constantly woven, tied, and separated dependent on where we stand at any given time. And so, I do not know what it means to be Latina. But I think there is something powerful about being undefinable.

In what ways has your Hispanic Heritage influenced your thought process and ways of addressing issues as a changemaker?

Like every first-born, first-generation Latina, I too rattled my mind in an effort to pinpoint who I was in this giant world. What I quickly concluded was that I was expressive, and that I had the capability to create smaller worlds through art and music, worlds that made sense to me because I created them. However, I've learned that I want something more. I would like to bring people into these worlds of creativity and love. I would love to share this joy that I've found. This part is much harder. At first glance, these undefinable worlds are too vague, flowery, and naive. But I have a hunch that we're all looking for connection and that we rarely experience it in its wholeness, and that we're afraid to witness it in all its glory because we can't define it. And so we still to what we know, the definable. This cycle is what I"m looking to break.

How important is it to recognize the key role that Hispanics have historically played in creating peace and change in the world during this month?

Very. Latino/a/e/xs build peace every day.

Are there any examples of Hispanic changemakers that have impacted how you address issues and create solutions?

Sharon Larios who ran for San Diego City Council in 2019 and San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera are community leaders that I really look up to. Jesi Rodriguez, the owner of Libelula Books is someone I extremely admire and find great inspiration in. All three are greatly concerned for their communities, authentic, and led by the idea of building relationships.

Why are you proud to be Hispanic?

Simply having something to relate to outside of the normative culture is exciting, exhilarating, and fulfilling. For me though, I love our music, dance, and food. And I really like how we've been able to expand, re-narrate, and explore our identity.

Interested in learning more about the Kroc School's academic program offerings? Learn more here. Explore the University of San Diego's Hispanic Heritage Month events here


Angelica Sanabria

About the Author

Angelica Sanabria

Angelica is a MA in Peace and Justice candidate at the Kroc School of Peace Studies.