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Photo: Affordable Connectivity Program Ceremony
Photo: Affordable Connectivity Program Ceremony

Meet the Philly teen who recently introduced Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House

The occasion was a celebration of Comcast's Affordable Connectivity Program hitting 10 million people served nationwide.

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On Monday, Feb. 14, an ambitious young Latina student from Philadelphia’s Parkway West High School had the unique opportunity to travel to the White House. 

Eighteen-year-old Llulisa Valdivia was invited to a ceremony celebrating a major milestone for Comcast’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and she had the privilege of meeting and introducing Vice President Kamala Harris. 

“It was actually very exciting. I was so nervous that I was just shaking the whole day, basically. But it was very fun. It’s not something you know you do on a daily basis,” Valdivia told AL DÍA about her experience. 

The ACP program provides a $30/month voucher for low-income Americans to access high-speed internet service. The program just reached 10 million people connected, and this number includes Valdivia and her mother, Mayra Ross, who signed up for Comcast's Internet Essentials program using the ACP voucher.

“Before the pandemic, we didn’t have internet at home. We didn’t think we needed it. At first, I was doing work from my phone and using it as a hotspot. But it’s not the same as having home internet,” Valdivia said during the ceremony.

Having high-speed internet at home has allowed her and her siblings to improve the way they do school work and allowed for more family bonding. Valdivia’s mom took advantage of the program to learn new skills for her job.

“It was amazing, we got to do a lot of things, like family movie nights and family game nights on the TV, like Scrabble. We use it as entertainment for ourselves and also for homework. I’m currently working on my senior project, so that’s a big thing for me. I’m doing research all the time,” Valdivia told AL DÍA.

Valdivia said the program has been a very big help, and it released her mom from the burden of another bill. 

“It’s a part of everyday life now, you need the internet to do anything. It’s beneficial to everyone,” Valdivia said. 

The thesis of Valdivia’s senior project is that immigrants should be made legal U.S. citizens. Immigration is a topic that hits close to home for her, so she takes every chance she can to write about it.

“Since I got to high school, from my ninth grade year and up... if I don't need a certain subject, my subjects will always be immigration. I want my topic to be immigration,” she said.  

As for college, Valdivia is still undecided about where she wants to go, but she is focused on choosing a major. If she studies law, she wants to become an immigration lawyer. She is also leaning towards majoring in psychology, because she feels that mental health isn’t talked about enough, and she wants to change that. 

Valdivia’s grandmother, along with her mother and her aunts, migrated from Nicaragua to the states to escape war. They came to the U.S. because they heard that Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a sanctuary city for immigrants. They just recently became U.S. citizens. 

Valdivia wants to highlight the positive news of immigrants and their contributions to the country. 

“It’s always in the news, but it’s usually always negative. Immigrants are a big help. This is a big part of my life. Like, if I can do something to help it, I want to,” she said.

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