We’re proud to announce this year’s Imagine Us awardees! Each of them has fought for justice and strengthened their community in a powerful way, and we’re proud to honor them.
Born and raised in Guatemala, Alejandra moved to the United States when she was twelve years old. She graduated from Cleveland High School earned her BA from the University of Washington Bothell, with 22 scholarships.
Alejandra’s passion for educational equity comes from her advocacy with and for undocumented students and their families in Washington State and around the nation. Alejandra has an extensive background in organizing for social justice, running large-scale events and conferences and providing professional development to educators.
Angie Tamayo Montero is a Colombian womxn, and human rights activist. Currently, she is a research assistant at the Center of Human Rights at UW.
Her journey as a social justice advocate began in an organization called “Guagua”, which advocates for human rights and supports victims of the political and social conflict in Colombia. She also worked with grassroot organizations to support youth from poor families that were at high risk of, or had already dropped out of, school, and youth that were part of gangs and vulnerable to being hired as hitmen. She is a member of Mecha de UW, a student-led organization that works actively within our Latinx and indigenous communities to promote higher education, leadership, and cultural empowerment.
Ardo Hersi (R-Doe Her-See) is a 21 year old Somali American organizer, journalist and activist. She’s a first generation college student at Seattle Central and plans to transfer to university and to study human rights, law and African studies. She’s a youth organizer with YUIR and EPIC, did work with KUOW’s Radioactive and is currently working with East African Community Services. She’s a lover of learning, food and music, but her passion lies with in serving her community.
Rainier Scholar and Pitzer-bound high school senior Cheyenne Brashear is a youth mediator and circle keeper, working to implement the philosophy of restorative practices into spaces dedicated to healing from individual and systemic trauma.
She aims to redefine the role of a facilitator with the objective of creating a norm of empathy, understanding, and effective communication. Outside of her organizing work, she is a creative at her core; constantly writing and creating pieces that breathe life into the struggle.
Gabby Ibanez-Dacruz is a self-identifying multiracial (Portuguese, Filipina, American) womxn who comes from an immigrant family.
Through her education at the UW Bothell and life experiences living in the PNW, she has dedicated herself to organizing communities around racial, gender, immigrant, and worker rights. Last summer Gabby embarked on Seattle2Selma, a civil rights pilgrimage to experience our country’s racial history and reflect upon its continued institutionalized racism. During this past election season, she fought for hotel worker’s rights. She is devoted to hearing different stories and learning storytelling in order to change the narrative of our country.
Jorge Cuellar is a queer undocumented Mexican immigrant. They have been part of and collaborated with organizations seeking to dismantle systems of oppression.
Jorge has been an active member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztan (MEChA), a student led chicanx grassroots organization, which sparked the activist within them. As part of their advocacy agenda, Jorge deemed necessary to hold a space for queer people of color and founded a new student organization, Viva la Joteria (VJ). VJ will be hosting its first annual conference which will provide spaces for healing, education, empowerment and growth. As a non-DACA eligible undocumented student, Jorge has been advocating and demanding resources for ALL undocumented people.
Larissa Reza Garcia is from Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. She graduated from Chief Sealth International High School, and went on to earn her degree from the University of Washington, Seattle.
Larissa currently serves as a College and Career Access Specialist at Tyee Educational Complex. Larissa’s speciality is working with underrepresented immigrant youth and families as a bridge to connect them to opportunities within the education and reengagement system. Larissa has a passion for decolonizing education through the power of young people and is committed to immigration rights, and helping other undocumented students obtain the resources necessary to achieve higher education.