Citlaly is a Capitol Pathways intern focused on learning the inner workings of the state Capitol and lobbying process. She moved across the United States repeatedly as a child, experiencing the difference between education done in collaboration with students and education that’s not. Personally impacted by the financial, social, and political barriers of Minnesota’s higher education system as a low-income, first-generation college student, Citlaly is passionate about education equity. And as the older sibling of three youth in Minnesota’s K-12 public school system, Citlaly recognizes the urgency for a new structure of education. The impact of online learning and the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the ways in which Minnesota continuously fails low income, students of color.
Citlaly is focused on advancing ethnic studies in Minnesota. For her, having ethnic studies is not an option for schools; it is a moral and institutional necessity as all students of color deserve to have an education that reflects their cultural, social, and historical identity. Citlaly did not have any access to teachers of color growing up or an option to learn about her identity and history as a Mexican American. She realized the impact of that absence when she had her first professor of color at Augsburg University, where she currently studies political science and sociology. Citlaly organized for anti-racist alternatives to institutional racism at her university, including working with a coalition of students, staff, and faculty to develop the incoming Department of Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies in Fall 2021. In addition, she advances ethnic studies in her old school district as a member of another community-based coalition.