Some of the most important conversations in our country right now are being led by young people in their teens and early twenties. Today, I sat down with student activist Amy Morales. Amy is a senior at FSU, where she studies Political Science and is known for being a leader in our community. She hails from Miami and is a proud Latinx youth focused on spreading love and growing the movements she is organizing throughout Florida. This is her main goal in many of the organizations she takes part in and it is the reason I chose to speak with her this week. With so many of the conversations we’ve seen in the news in recent months, I’ve asked myself where I can begin to help and I’m sure you have to. We’re diving in to see the types of groups she is a part of, what they stand for and how we can help change the systems we do not stand for through the same sort of positivity and hope that Amy has.
Her Campus (HC): What would you say is your biggest motivator in doing what you do?
Amy Morales (AM): I feel like the work I do is based a lot off of my personal experience with family separation. I don’t want anyone else to experience our deeply flawed immigration system like I did, so I am fighting for all undocumented people, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and other marginalized communities. The doctrine of not being free until we all are free is a notion I adhere to closely because I am fighting for the liberation of all peoples.
HC: When did you first start getting involved with community action and what made you start?
AM: I initially began my freshman year of high school after. I got involved with the local TPS movement in Miami where we strategized, organized and created a radical, safe and supportive space.
HC: Can you tell me a bit about the activism you’ve done since attending FSU? What was your first project and why did you choose it?
AM: I feel like it really began in the fall of 2019 when the SB 168 bill was trying to be passed that would eliminate sanctuary cities in FL. Basically, if local law didn’t comply with ICE, they would not receive their funds. I was worried for our undocumented community on campus, so I wrote a resolution in Senate asking Thrasher to commit to not comply with ICE and ensure FSU remained a sanctuary campus and to keep their promise to value the protection of their students.
HC: What has been your favorite project or group to work with and why?
AM: I have really enjoyed the work I have done with Tallahassee Dream Defenders Squad. We’ve done work involving the message behind Dream Defenders which is essentially amplifying black and brown communities through fighting for social change.
HC: What are you working on now?
AM: Right now I serve as the co-Vice President of the Central American United Student Association where we have recently collaborated with United We Dream. We’re offering support through funding, but also engaging folks to be able to help us fight against deportation forces and empower immigrant youth. Together, we are honoring Central Americans fighting for citizenship and fundraising to support the fight to protect all immigrants. If anyone is interested in learning how they can help they can go to @FSUCAUSA on Instagram.
HC: How has the pandemic affected your work and outreach?
AM: There are definitely pros and cons to doing the work I do on Zoom. I like how accessible all my meetings are from my computer, but I’m definitely missing the human connection and building relationships because that’s what I love.
HC: How do you do your research to find which organizations need help?
AM: My number one tip is to join a local membership organization; my favorite is the Tallahassee Dream Defenders Squad. Organizations like this encourage relationship building and growing in your learning.
HC: What are your plans after college?
AM: The next step for me is getting a Master’s in Public Policy where I would specifically be focusing on Domestic Policy. I also plan to eventually get JD down the line, but I’m not sure the exact timeline right now. My dream is to diversify the public sector, end family separation and abolishing borders.
HC: Finally, what do you want the readers to take away from this conversation?
AM: I would want readers to join their local membership organizations, read some books—I recommend Sylvia Wynters—and to stay humble and grounded. Much love.
Hopefully, anyone reading this feels the love she puts into her work with these organizations and is inspired to do the same!