30 Oct Fellowship Friday Spotlight 10/30/20
Alyx Romero is an Indigenous Xicana born in Boyle Heights and raised in El Monte, CA, and Morelia, Mexico. Seeing the injustices firsthand in her community motivated her to get involved during her junior year in high school, and she hasn’t looked back.
“”I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.’—Emiliano Zapata is a quote that’s always stuck with me because I want to keep going for my people and work for revolutionary change.”
It’s a central part of Alyx’s character to be at the forefront of social justice issues and organize other people to get involved. “How do I get people passionate about caring? That’s a question I’m always thinking about. I like giving to other people. I’m smart. I’m funny and goofy. Organizers do serious and heavy work a lot of the time, and I think humor is a key part of connecting with someone.”
“For me, I like to make a lot of personal connections. If I see they’re not too open with sharing, I share, and so they see it’s safe to [be] open here.”
Harold Lloyd is a Queer Black actor, scholar, spoken word poet, and overall performance artist from the South Side of Chicago. Lloyd earned a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University with a minor in African-American Studies where he studied Theatre for Social Change, Voices of Justice, and Black Queer Theory. While researching, curating, and performing in several productions during his undergraduate career, Lloyd became immersed in the Theatre Department with stories and statements that continue to carry the often untold experiences and injustices of Black people in unequal institutions and around the world.
Lloyd has continued his artistry through performance and narrative writing about identity, race, love, sex, and the survival of sexual violence. With every piece, performance, and story, Lloyd wants to use his emotional voice, personal stories and writing to give life to Black people, to every survivor of truth, and to young Black and Brown folks who continue to imagine a world where they no longer have to die in one moment to live in the next.
“I want to tell youth: your imagination is out of this world. It’s literally something that can change the world. In our 20s and 30s, and 40s, we lose some of that because of societal ills. It’s part of why I really like this song “Speak” by Jhene Aiko. It reminds you to be who you are at all times and not let anybody tell you who or what you should be.”
“Being with CoCo Fellows, we do these affirmations, and it reminds me to just show up as you are. Embrace all parts of your identity.”
Lloyd brings that energy to his interactions with community members.
“I really love making people smile. I like to try and give life to people. I’m always able to make a friend.”
With plans to eventually pursue their Masters in Acting, Lloyd continues to use his experience and platform to emphasize art as activism, and to write, perform, and live for those whose voices continue to go unheard.
Jathan Melendez is a community activist who’s passionate about building up Black & Brown communities. He began stimulating change in his community during his high school years through his affiliation with South Central Youth Empowered thru Action (SCYEA), a youth program component of Community Coalition.
“CoCo has impacted me in many ways. I see their pipeline of success. The mentorship I received at CoCo led me to go out into the community and provide a sense of guidance to young men of color from single-parent households.”
“As a former youth in the program, I know how to communicate with youth to make them feel inspired and lay out community responsibility.”
During his time in SCYEA, Jathan was part of education reform efforts to improve low-income community schools’ curricula. Those gains were won through numerous rallies, testifying in front of the LA School Board, and lobbying for improvement.
Upon graduating high school, he attended California State University – Los Angeles, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He plans to continue his social justice work to be part of the revitalization of South LA.
“One of my favorite pieces of art is ‘Payback’ by Nipsey Hussle. It talks about the secrets behind government agencies and people of color rising up against systems of oppression. That’s what I’m going to be part of.”