OUR STORIES | Emilia Gonzalez Avalos: Dancer, mother, student, artist, activist


Dancer, mother, student, artist, activist — Emilia Gonzalez Avalos is a busy woman!

A Mexican immigrant, born in Mexico City, raised in Irapuato, Guanajuato and in Minnesota, she came to Minnesota to join her father. He had come to Minnesota years earlier, looking for better job opportunities and a better future for his family. Family separation, border consciousness and transnational economy shaped her life to become an immigration activist, feminist, and advocate for human rights. She is member of the Richfield Human Rights Commission, co-director of Kalpulli Ketzalcoatlicue Aztec dance group (Richfield and Bloomington communities) student, mother, and artist.

The fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows, funded by the Bush Foundation, completed ten weeks of intensive learning on November 14, with the ripple effects already spreading out into various Twin Cities communities. The fellowship program focused on improving media skills with the specific goal of using these skills for better communication in/about/on behalf of each participant’s community. This article is one of several articles introducing the fall cohort of Media Skills Fellows and what they learned and accomplished.

Emilia told us that, “Because of this fellowship, I was able to use [social media] in a more efficient way. My brother is doing work in Mexico for immigrant rights for Central Americans and I send him things that you give me so he can use it there – and he is sending it to Brazil.”

She found the group process was helpful: “This was a support system of a lot of folks going through the same process and encouraging each other even if we were writing about very different things. It represented a vehicle to look for more in the future. I have a lot of things in the back of my mind that I wanted to write about, but I didn’t know how to.”

In her work as Advocacy and Community Engagement Director of Navigate MN, she says, “I am now able to manage all social media venues at once, with less effort. I am also more comfortable using my voice when [advocating for] social justice. This also allows me to feel more secure and pass on the knowledge that I have acquired with my peers and community.”

Related story: OUR STORIES | Emilia Gonzalez Avalos: Fasting to affirm ‘American values of family, immigration and hard work’ (Mary Turck, 2013)

Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation.