Angela Cardenas is a first-generation Mexican-American student who has lived in San Bernardino for most of her life. Here, she lives with her mom and two sisters in a small apartment in the middle of the city. Around the apartment complex where she lives, there is a constant clamor of moving cars mixed with a bustle of children’s laughter. The area, though very community-oriented, is also plagued with air pollution, homelessness, and a lack of good city infrastructure. From this part of town, Angela commutes to San Bernardino High School where she is a senior who will be graduating in a few months.
At school, Angela survives the daily humdrum of going from classroom to classroom like any other average high school student. It is here that she was first introduced to ICUC when young adult leaders went to her class to pre-register her and her peers to vote. At her initial involvement, Angela became invested in helping organize for the national school walkout on her campus. She describes this experience as having been empowering, that it changed her a lot because it opened her to the political issues happening around her and because it made her step into a leadership position that was important for her personal growth.
Angela attributes ICUC as one of the spaces where she has been able to carve out a space for herself. Through the organization, Angela feels like she has gained a bigger sense of confidence and that she has solidified strong friendships with other young people who also understand the importance of making a positive change in their communities.
As part of the youth organizing, Angela is currently working on the organization’s ongoing youth mental health campaign. She is personally invested in the implementation of wellness centers on school campuses in San Bernardino because she knows these resources are necessary for everyone, especially students who may not always have the support to deal with issues that are personally affecting them. Because of the growth she has experienced, the issues she grown passionate about, and the friendships she has created through ICUC, Angela continues to do the work she does.