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Community Spotlight: Meet Regina!

By March 4, 2016 June 16th, 2016 No Comments

Introduce yourself!

My name is Regina Ledesma, and I’m a Filipino-American 1.5 generation college student!

Where are you from?

I’m from Baltimore.  My parents and I immigrated to Maryland from the Philippines when I was around five years old, and I’ve been there ever since.  However, I did go to school for a year in Massachusetts during my junior year of high school.  During summers, I’d travel around the country.  My favorite place was Berkeley, California; it was one of the friendliest places and the hills in San Francisco kept me in shape!  I lived in the Foothill dorm and took economics classes there.

What do you do?

Currently, I’m a sophomore economics major at the University of Maryland, College Park; I double minor in Asian American Studies and Black Women’s Studies.  On campus, I am involved with the MICA (Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy) Office.  I am also engaged in community organizing and social justice projects on campus.  Right now, I’m focusing on planning for APAHM (Asian Pacific Heritage Month).

I invest a lot of my time in the arts, so I’m often in my room listening to music for hours or singing and making covers with my guitar.  During the weekends, I’m usually at art galleries in DC or reading books about artists.  Honestly, I like structure in my day, but spontaneity is something I live for.  The other day, my friend Liz and I were singing and playing the guitar in public at around 1am in front of the Columbia Heights metro stop.  It wasn’t planned at all.

How did you get involved with NAKASEC, and what keeps you coming back?  

I had heard about NAKASEC, and Katrina Dizon recommended that I apply to intern! I am grateful to her for that.  I love the work environment; my co-workers are very empathetic and humorous people.  Dong Yoon and Emily are both very funny; SaeHee keeps them in check, though.  The work we’re doing – planning out community listening sessions and clinics – will ultimately benefit the community.  This motivates me and inspires me to continue the work and improve each time I come back to the office.

How would you describe your community?

I identify with the Asian-American community, but specifically, the Filipino-American community.  Both of my parents are Filipino and they imparted their cultural values (but unfortunately no their love for lechon, a Filipno pork dish) to me.  As a Filipino kid in the United States, I struggled a lot with my identity.  I asked myself a number of questions: Was I American?  Did I even like being Asian-American?  Do I fit in with my white peers?  These questions haunted me during my adolescence.  I became more comfortable wiht my identity and really embraced it when I came to University of Maryland and met other Filipino-Americans, who had all faced similar struggles with their identities.

What do you think is the civil issue of the day?

We need to fight against anti-blackness in our society.  We need to resist against the model minority myth and stereotypes about people of color.  Also, organizing for ethnic studies on campus is definitely one of my priorities as a college student and Asian American Studies minor.

What is something you hope to accomplish in 2016?

In 2016, I hope to organize and host my first conference in March, learn German, and resist oppression in all facets of my life!