I am honored to be nominated to be part of LASA’s executive committee. As an interdisciplinary scholar, LASA has been critical to my academic formation since my graduate school days. I would dedicate myself to furthering LASA’s mission as I have always seen the organization as my primary academic home.
As someone whose personal story straddles various borderlands of Central America’s northern triangle (or what we call El trifinio which is constituted by Esquipulas, La palma, and Ocotepeque, ), citizenships, nationalities, and languages, LASA’s engagement with Otros Saberes/Other Knowledges, migration, neoliberalism, and development has allowed me to stay connected to Latin American critical thought despite growing up for most of my life in Los Angeles.
I would like to see LASA engage more Chicanx/Latinx and Indigenous students in the study of Latin America. I see their training in the field as a major part in the future of LASA. I would be interested in figuring out best approaches to encourage more participation from first generation college students and students from community colleges that can see LASA as a space where they, too, can feel at home. As part of the executive committee, I would like to focus on other issues for the organization. The first one would bring my passion and desire to be more conscientious about our environment and our yearly footprint. I think this is a very important issue for us as the largest academic organization focused on Latin America. We must move beyond recognizing our own contribution to the deterioration of the environment and provide practical solutions to things like waste, optimizing resources, and taking a stance about our place in the world. In this sense, I would also like us to consider elders and other indigenous environmental defenders as critical to our academic dialogues and growth. Secondly, I would like us to have a more open policy to the communities whose lands we come to for our academic meetings. I know that this has been addressed, and I would like to further this conversation. This would mean inviting people from the nearby communities to our conferences and building better relationships with representatives from the local communities. I realize this requires funding for practitioners who are not affiliated with the academy, but I think we can strategize to ensure these important voices have a space in our organization. Having seen LASA’s constant engagement with the most pressing issues of our times, my hope is to make a difference in how the organization moves forward post the most challenging pandemic of this century. Linking the pandemic to the environment and the lessons we can take from this experience as it intersects with unequal distribution of medicine, racism, patents, capitalism, and interspecies relations can be important themes that we can address. I also hope to bring to the executive committee my enthusiasm for collaborating with community archives, libraries, and museums.