Organizer and educator, 22-year-old Brigette Amaya was born and raised in the heart of South Central. Her family migrated to the U.S. from El Salvador in the 1980s during the Salvadoran civil war. Her organizing experience started in high school when she joined the student club Taking Action under the organization Labor Community Strategy Center. Brigette became a multigenerational community organizer after noticing the discrepancies within the school system that manifested in a shortage of nurses and over-policing of students.
As a Latina, Brigette has faced many different barriers including self-doubt internalized from the educational system. Although self-doubt can be an internal barrier, there are ways in which institutions make it easier for those limiting beliefs to fester within a student's mind, especially for young students of color. She reminds herself and the students, “you're going to find where you want to go as long as you know what you're passionate about and what you want to do to prove yourself and to prove to the people around you and your community.” Brigette is currently working to obtain the credentials to work with students so that she can be that spark for them in the same way she was inspired in high school. She wants to help future generations understand the social inequalities they face, especially as students of color, and guide them through thinking about what they need to succeed in school and in their future visions of success.
Passionate about her community, Brigette sees herself always staying in South Central. Her love of the community is driven by the shared sentiment of all generations, no matter how old or young, to fight to survive increasing gentrification and the commitment to stay where they feel at home. Brigette organizes to change the narrative and to educate people on what is possible for community improvement. She uses her position as an organizer to educate people on the socioeconomic inequities that people face in South Central and to address the lack of investment in Black and Brown communities. Brigette also finds ways to strengthen her identity as a Salvadoran American by building bridges between her culture in Los Angeles and that of El Salvador.
As a woman growing up in a Latino household, Brigette has navigated through the conflicting expectations of being a caretaker to males and family while carrying the burden of speaking up against injustices. Bridgette’s message to other women of color is, “Never be afraid to speak up. You deserve that raise that you've been working hard for. You deserve to be loved the way you want to be loved. You deserve to be the woman you always imagined you'd be. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.”