In 2001, Hanna Wallis participated in GV’s Intensive Leadership Program and Service Trip to Guatemala. Now an agent of global change, she attributes Global Visionaries as the catalyst for her commitment to social justice. Read her story below.
When you slide that dangling tassel across your face and watch the graduation caps flutter through the air, every college grad is confronted with the same burning question: What now? Burdened by this predictable anxiety, I could take solace in the presence of a few guiding values; A commitment to social justice, the desire to keep learning, and above all, an identity rooted in the conviction that I am an agent of global change.
Gracias a Dios, I was awarded an opportunity that aligns with all of these goals. As a recipient of the 2010 Public Interest Fellowship, I have been working at a non-profit legal organization called Colorado Legal Services in their Migrant Farm Worker Division. Through advocacy, education and legal support, the organization strives to protect the labor and employment rights of migratory peoples. Over the course of my fellowship I have conducted outreach to farm camps throughout Colorado, given educational presentations about sexual harassment and discrimination, supplied visas to undocumented victims of violent crimes and reinforced the convictions that brought me here.
Reflecting on the origin of those convictions, it is easy to identify the seed of idealism: Global Visionaries. Nine years ago, my 14-year-old self participated in the intensive youth program and trip to Guatemala, an experience that left me utterly floored. I became viscerally aware of the power structures that create and sustain global poverty, but instead of emerging dejected, Global Visionaries gave me the tools to evaluate my life as a responsible and conscientious change-maker. Liberated from complacency, fluent in Spanish, culturally awakened and invigorated to make a difference, the teachings of Global Visionaries were a powerful catalyst for my current work and I will continue to carry them with me.