Aida grew up in New Jersey in the Puerto Rican Neighborhood speaking only Spanish. She currently lives in Lansing, Michigan and is an organizer of ACTION of Greater Lansing. Aida works with four different task forces: Children’s Health Equality and Access, Civil Rights for Immigrants, Restraint and Bullying, Housing Code Enforcement and the Disability Caucus. She is also a member of the Cristo Rey Parish Latino Church, which is very diverse.
What is your relationship with Gamaliel and how did it begin?
I heard about a job opening at Gamaliel through a friend that was involved in the Education Task Force of ACTION of Greater Lansing. I asked her to email me the job description and committed to following up with her. Later that day when I read job description, I knew I had to pray about the work that was being done within the Gamaliel Network and whether or not there was a place for me. While the idea of organizing scared me because of the dedication to so many people, I continued to pray on it and wrote to Sister Cheryl. I thanked her for the work that they where doing and I sent her my resume. A few days later I received a phone call for an interview. I walked into the interview and felt anointment from God and filled with excitement. Lucky for me, a week later I was offered the position.
How do you see the Fire of Faith campaign align with Catholic Social Teaching?
Where does it not align with Catholic Social Teaching? It aligns in almost every single way. Fire of Faith is a way to serve with your faith. It is about going into Church and building relationships with members of the Church. It is also about discovering why people continue to come to Church and why they are committed to their Catholic Faith. I have a fire for social justice. With the Fire of Faith campaign I’m encouraged to use my faith to fight for this cause. However, Gamaliel isn’t just about justice, it is about creating leaders in the Catholic Church to support the church’s mission.
What issues in your community have you been addressing and how have they aligned with the Fire of Faith campaign?
Immigration is the main issue that I have been addressing. Fire of Faith has been burning strongly in our Catholic Church and it creates a powerful culture where immigrants are being supported on every level. Because they see their Church supporting them on an issue that is so close to home, their faith grows. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing an aspiring American filled with the Fire of Faith and becoming a bold leader for their Church, community and life.