Disabled Latina activist heads University of Texas student body
Alejandrina Guzman is the new student body president at the University of Texas at Austin. As the top representative of the UT student body, Guzman will focus…
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A disabled young Latina is the new student body president at the University of Texas at Austin, after winning the recent election with more than half the votes of her schoolmates.
Born in the small north Texas town of Azle, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Dallas, Alejandrina Guzman is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and proud of her race, her last name and the olive skin she inherited from her parents.
Partly because of being "differently abled," as she calls it, the new student body president of this prestigious university is largely focused on protecting undocumented students, making sure they all know their rights and promoting a petition to declare this a "sanctuary campus."
Besides being the top representative of the UT student body, Guzman is immersed in Texas society through a number of associations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Texas Orange Jackets (UT's oldest feminist organization) and more.
During her second year at UT - she is now in her fourth year of Political Science with a major in Mexican-American Studies - she went through several incidents that made her reflect on her role within two marginalized communities: the Latinos and the disabled.
She said that in her second year she applied to enter a women's organization but wasn't accepted because she gets around in a wheelchair, though she knew she was more than qualified to take part in that activist group. Which, by the way, changed its mind a year later and admitted her.
That same year the young Latina had to wait more than two and a half hours for someone to help her down the stairs because the elevator in the university building wasn't working - but no one paid her the slightest attention.
After finding herself in several situations like that, Guzman decided to become an activist in order to be heard and serve as the symbol of a campaign demanding the rights of those minority groups.
So then Guzman and her running mate and future student body vice president, Micky Wolf, decided to undertake "many hours of work and planning" which were well rewarded when they came away with a victory in the university election.