ROCKET: What is your response to the celebration for the 100 years of women?
Karina Lizano-Blanco: The College does well in acknowledging the fact that women have not always had access to this institution. However, in that same vein, I know that the women that came in 100 years ago were not women that looked like me. So kudos, but understanding that this celebration does not belong to all women of the College is key when understanding the Colleges history.
R: What still needs to change in the way William & Mary prioritizes/supports women, especially WOC?
KLB: There has to be consistent support for victims of sexual assault and measures to protect women who have survived these traumas. The College also has to acknowledge that different women need different support systems, this includes women of color, trans women, and in particular, trans women of color.
R: What measures can William & Mary take to make campus a more inclusive community for POC, especially WOC?
KLB: I’ve been thinking about this and I genuinely feel like hiring more faculty and staff of color is key. The members of the faculty that are typically looked for when there are issues are the same ones, and at the end of the day that only creates a larger burden on those that speak for marginalized students.
R: What are some things you do on campus that you think make the environment a more inclusive one?
KLB: I personally have stepped back from involvement on campus, but one of the exciting things I’ve been working on this semester is attempting to trace the history of Latinx people at William and Mary through an independent study I have been working on through the Hispanic Studies program. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how this would take shape, but we’ve been making tiny baby steps which I am thankful for.
R: Who is someone on campus you look up to, and why? What do they do that you think deserves commending?
KLB: There are so many amazing people on this campus that I look up to but I would say Dania Matos, Katherine Barko-Alva, and John Riofrio. All of them are Latinx people whom I have come to count on and admire so much for their respective work in their fields. Professor Barko-Alva’s passion was what inspired me to go into education, Dania Matos drive inspires me to keep on fighting for what I believe is right, and Professor Rio reminds me to be patient with others.