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Leah was recognized as one of Glamour Magazine’s 2019 College Women of Year. In 2020, Leah was named as a L’Oréal of Paris Woman of Worth, the first non-binary honoree, and they received $10,000 for victim support, as the Founder and Director of March Against Revenge Porn: eradicates image abuse through global grassroots organizing, national protest marches, media advocacy, victim support services, federal lobbying, and direct legislative action. Leah graduated in Fall 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.
Nicole Struth graduated from WCSU in 2012 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in conflict resolution. She currently works as the Education and Special Projects Director at the World Affairs Council of Connecticut, where she works to manage and expand CTWAC’s education related programs such as the annual Model UN, reaching over 1100 Connecticut high school students each year. Nicole completed a dual graduate degree program, receiving an M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and a Masters of Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Prior to her studies, Nicole served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Washington State assisting with the management of a college preparedness program for underserved high school students. Nicole has extensive travel experience that includes living abroad in Germany and The Netherlands.
At 12-years-old, Represent Justice ambassador @FernandoBermudezFree had an after school routine. When his last class was over, he’d head down to the subway with his friends and markers in tow, and spend his afternoon writing in the tunnels. It was like art class, and he wasn’t alone. He was part of a phenomenon of Black and Brown youth in the five boroughs making themselves visible through public art when the rest of society tried to render them invisible.
“It was a way of self expression in the ghetto. A way to become known, to become popular,” Fernando said. But after spending 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Fernando suppressed his talents, partially out of fear of getting in trouble.
These last few months of sheltering in place have allowed Fernando to reconnect with his artistic practice, and channel his emotions through graffiti. That’s why he created this piece for #FreeOurVote. His piece explores what it means to be disenfranchised. He traces the roots of mass incarceration and reminds us that November’s election is the first step toward building a fairer justice system.
Through his art, he outlines the rise of the prison industrial complex, and how the rapid expansion of prisons and policing — which disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities — takes decades away from people’s lives. With an officer blocking access to a ballot box, Fernando shows how the ramifications of incarceration last long after a person is released. And we know this to be true, since more than 6.1 million Americans have lost the right to vote because of a felony conviction.
“We need to vote for more people, but we also need to pass laws to get more to vote,” Fernando said. “We need to free our vote.”
Fernando graduated from WCSU in Fall 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences.
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