Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Meet the Strikers

Benjamin Landau-Beispiel was born in 1988 and grew up in Philadelphia. He became politically active in the anti-war movement during the lead-up to the current war in Iraq. In high school, he organized with the Philadelphia Student Union, a youth-led organization that focuses on issues of education reform. Working with this organization made him believe that young people have a crucial role to play in building a movement to create a more just and rational world. He has been a member of the Student Labor Action Movement since he began his first year at Harvard in September.

My name isJosé Olivarez. I'm a freshman at Harvard from the south suburbs of Chicago. I plan on studying social studies or sociology while at college. My career plan is to become a writer of all trades, a teacher, an emcee, and to continue my efforts as an activist.

Matthew Opitz: I am a first-year student at Harvard College. I am 19 years old. Before coming to Harvard, I spent my entire life in Springfield, MO. I came to Harvard hoping to experience a type of city life rich in unique perspectives and cultural energy, to push the boundaries of my thought and experience, and to prepare myself for a career as possibly a teacher or professor of history and/or other areas of the social sciences. I do look forward, though, to spending time again during this upcoming summer with my mom, dad, two older brothers, older sister, friends, and my wonderful dog named Majesty.

My name is Jamila Martin and I am a senior Social Studies dropout. I am from JP, right in between Green St. and Stonybrook Stations. I love dogs and food. I spend a lot of my time right now thinking about what delicious things I will eat when this is all over. I am grateful to Harvard for the education I got here that it didn't know it was giving me. And I am really thankful for the support my roommates and parents have given me through this hunger strike. That's me on the right in the picture.

My name is Alyssa Aguilera, I'm 21 years old, and from San Antonio, TX. I have been involved in labor organizing at Harvard for the past three years and am incredibly happy about the outpouring of support this campaign has seen in recent weeks. People say you stop feeling hungry after day 3, that is a lie. Much love to my family that undoubtedly googles me daily and will find this bio, and to my friends that have been supportive throughout this campaign. VIVA LA RAZA!

Claire Provost is a senior at Harvard, studying Urban Planning and Sustainable Development. She is originally from a mining town in Northern Ontario, Canada. She is a member of the Harvard Student Labor Action Movement and is interested in political philosophy, labor issues, and the politics of international development.

Kelly Lee: I am a 21 year-old senior at Harvard University studying African American Studies with a focus in critical race theory and labor. I am a intercollegiate transfer student and spent 2 years studying at Simmons College in Boston before coming to Harvard. I grew up on the skirttails of rural Oregon in a little city called Springfield (yes, the Springfield where the Simpsons are based). My experiences growing up in a working-poor household in a blue-collar town have greatly influenced my motivations in becoming active in this campaign. It is painfully clear to me that working people deserve respect and dignity at work. They deserve a decent wage with which they can provide for their families, pay their rent, pay for medical expenses, send their children to school, to art lessons, to dance lessons, to summer camp... I grew up in a household where my parents worked harder than I ever imagined possible, but still couldn't afford these things. It is ridiculous that at one of the richest institutions in the world security guards work HARD and still don't have a decent standard of living. Harvard needs to stop playing games with workers' lives and take its responsibility seriously... and I'm not eating until it does.

Kaveri Rajaraman is a third year graduate student in neuroscience at Harvard. She is an activist for peace, labor justice, women's rights, immigrant rights and queer&trans rights. She also does South Asian community organizing as well as organizing against imperialism, racism and feudalism.

My name is Kyle A. Krahel and I was raised in Oceanside, CA, just north of San Diego. I am the oldest of six kids and the son of a stay-at-home mom and a working class dad. I was raised conservative and Republican. As I grew older and started reading the news more and learning more about the world, I started questioning the dogma I was raised on. The lead-up to the Iraq War crystallized my political views and put me squarely in the left. My time at Harvard has been spent in a lot of political communities, especially the Harvard College Democrats. I have been involved in-and-out in SLAM since freshmen year. I went to rallies and protests last semester for security guards and have talked a lot with my House security guard in Adams. I am fighting in this campaign for the security guards who play such an important part in my community here at Harvard.