(2) Continuing my work at UFE

As an international student from Honduras, I was not really exposed to different cultures or backgrounds growing up. Coming to Brandies was one of the first times I realized I am a minority, and I got to befriend many people from different places and cultures. I grew up only seeing people with my skin color and similar complexion for the most part. When I arrived in the United States for college, the culture shock was pretty big for me. Transitioning to this environment and switching to English all the time was challenging. 

Over time, I built my own little community within Brandies that made me feel a bit closer to home. I have learned so much from different cultures, languages, backgrounds, and communities during my time here. At Brandeis, in class (mostly my politics classes) and through conversations with other students, I have learned how race impacts so many layers of our lives, which I have used as the foundation for the knowledge I have built at United for a Fair Economy. 

Minority groups are disproportionately disadvantaged when it comes to the economy, the healthcare system, and the education system. My identity in terms of ethnicity is not something I paid much attention to while I was in Honduras. Everyone I interacted with was Latino; I was not a minority. I have been in the United States for two years. Over that time, I have gotten more informed about what it means to be a first-generation Latino immigrant in the United States and what it means – the good and the bad – to be part of a minority group. 

Lunch with a new staff member!

I feel like I have really grown during my time at United for a Fair Economy. At first, I was nervous about engaging in conversation with United for a Fair Economy staff and offering my help to people. Now, I can confidently say that I have bonded with some UFE staff members and can network with them and offer my support.

Since my last blog post, I finished the Conversation about the Economy series and the Avila Retreat Center interviews. I am working on the Storytelling Project, a series of interviews with workers in North Carolina. My supervisor, UFE’s National Communications Director Richard Lindayen, and I meet at all steps of the video editing process to brainstorm and discuss ways in which we can improve the video. Editing and working on the Storytelling Project is a joint effort between him and me, and what makes the process and my work experience so great is the amazing communication we have. The workers are mostly Latinos, which lets me learn more about the struggles Latinos and Latin-Americans face in the economy. 

I plan on going to the Boston office a lot more to strengthen my relationships with my colleagues and to seek more opportunities in projects I could help with and get involved in. I have really enjoyed my time at UFE and am glad I still have a few weeks left!

(1) My time at UFE

Hello, my name is Monica Alfaro, and I am a recipient of the Social Justice WOW grant. I am a rising junior at Brandeis and am double majoring in International Global Studies and Politics with a possible minor in Legal Studies. With the help of this grant, I have the incredible opportunity to intern with United for a Fair Economy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to challenging the concentration of wealth and power that corrupts democracy, deepens the racial divide, and tears communities apart. 

I work as the communications intern at United for a Fair Economy. UFE accomplishes its goals through three programs: Popular Education, Responsible Wealth, and Inclusive Economies. Through these programs, UFE strives to close the wealth gap. The Popular Education program provides training for activists to grant them the tools and resources they need to build a collective approach and expand their movements. The Responsible Wealth program comprises business leaders, investors, and inheritors in the richest 5% of wealth or income in the U.S. They advocate for progressive taxes and greater corporate accountability by speaking out in Congress and engaging in critical conversations to examine and change corporate and government policies. Lastly, Inclusive Economies brings together grassroots groups, business leaders, faith communities, unions, and think tanks in a coordinated effort to influence local policy toward equity. They speak out in Congress and participate in activities that promote progressive taxes and greater corporate accountability.  

Interning for United for a Fair Economy is the perfect opportunity for me. I have previous experience working with nonprofit organizations, which is how I know I am very passionate about community service. As a Latina from a low economic background, I can directly relate to UFE’s mission to challenge the unequal distribution of wealth and power and advocate for a more egalitarian society. United for a Fair Economy aligns with my interests. Its friendly, open environment empowered me to take initiative and direct projects, such as the video series “A Conversation About the Economy.” I know that after getting my undergraduate degree, I will go on to either law school for immigration law or join a nonprofit organization like UFE. 

As the communications intern, it is my job to support UFE’s mission through communication like editing videos and writing for their website and social media. My recent projects include a video series about the economic obstacles marginalized communities face, including the housing crisis, minimum wage, the cost of healthcare, and higher education opportunities. I am also working on videos documenting the retreats for trainers that UFE hosts, and I helped direct our most recent event, Tax the Rich. This event was a five-hour Zoom meeting with activists, rich people, and senators from Boston and North Carolina. We talked about how the rich can use their resources and social capital to advocate for an equal distribution of wealth, such as the rich getting taxed more. My upcoming project this week is an interview series from workers in North Carolina, highlighting the stories of those most impacted by economic inequality. I have gained much more experience with software such as Canva and Adobe Premiere. In the near future, I plan to connect more with people from other departments at UFE and help them in any way I can. I wish to learn more about UFE’s different programs, which is the perfect way to do so. 

I do not doubt that by the time I conclude my internship at UFE, I will have gained some expertise that will be necessary to excel in my desired career path.