Summer Centered: Maria Reyes Pacheco ’24 Interns at the New Sanctuary Movement
The prospective history major, sociology minor, and Latin American and Iberian studies concentrator is an education intern thanks to support from the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship.
As a Bolivian-American immigrant who has seen the injustice her community faces in the U.S., Maria Reyes Pacheco ’24 was attracted to the New Sanctuary Movement’s grassroots advocacy for immigrant justice during her summer internship search.
“I appreciated the New Sanctuary Movement’s commitment to their values and mission in all of the work they did,” she said. “They are immigrant-led and approach all their campaigns with the goal of empowering individuals and the collective.”
Reyes, a prospective history major, sociology minor, and Latin American and Iberian studies concentrator, interned at the Philadelphia nonprofit this summer as a Center for Peace and Global Citizenship-sponsored education intern. Her main project is creating a website with digital literacy resources for the Spanish-speaking immigrant communities they work with.
“Digital literacy is important for members of the community to access government services, schedule meetings with attorneys, communicate with their children’s schools, and so much more,” she said. “We hope that, by providing tutorials, they are able to learn these skills on their own, so that they can teach others within their family and community. This will empower them and allow them to access opportunities that require digital literacy.”
The free, open-access website Reyes is working on will include video tutorials made by Haverford students in Visiting Professor Lina Martinez Hernandez’s “Intermediate Spanish” course. The videos explain things such as how to send emails, start Zoom calls, and use Google Suite tools. As she works on the site, she is also in contact with community leaders to get their feedback and ensure the platform is as helpful as possible.
“Meeting with community leaders has been very rewarding,” she said. “The elders within the community are especially inspiring. They come with such humility and bring love and faith to all of our work. I have had the privilege of talking privately to many of them, and they’ll always make me feel welcomed not only as an intern but as one of their own.”
When Reyes is not working on the site, she is collaborating with staff members on their various projects. For example, she helped organize an immigration reform town hall, hosted by NMS and other Philadelphia organizations. The virtual event invited elected officials to support and listen to community members expressing their demand for a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants in the U.S..
Reyes doesn’t want her involvement with the organization to end when the summer does. So she is looking at ways that she can help Haverford’s Alliance of Latin American Students, or ALAS, get more involved.
“I believe we should open ourselves as resources to empower marginalized groups,” she said. “Volunteers are always needed at NSM, and I know many of our ALAS members personally share interest in immigration justice, as well. I believe the opportunity to learn more about grassroots organizing will also empower our Latinx community here at Haverford.”
Interning at NSM has also helped the rising sophomore decide that she wants to major in history.
“Previously I was very interested in history, but I felt that it wasn’t significant in the future grassroots work I desire to complete,” she said. “However, after talking to many staff members I have come to notice the importance of history in organizing as well. By understanding the history of social justice issues we are able to improve our strategies and build on what others started.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ campus-supported summer work.