Nearly three months after the devastating Maui fires, spring 2022 graduate and alumna Alejandra Guadalupe Ramirez has a renewed commitment to relief efforts in her island home, with a focus on immigrants.
On top of her full-time position at UH Maui College, the Wailuku resident, is a co-founder of , a Maui-based multilingual hub for impacted immigrants, connecting them to whatever aid and resources they qualify for during the long rebuilding process.
“As a Maui resident, I feel as if it is my responsibility to give back and help my community after the fires,” said Ramirez, a daughter of immigrants from Jalisco, México. “Whether it is helping with something big or small, I feel as if I am making a difference in the lives of those who need help the most.”
Hawaiʻi Promise at UH Maui College
Ramirez graduated from H.P. Baldwin High School in Wailuku in 2017, then attended UH Maui College, where she was an Hawaiʻi Promise scholarship recipient, and graduated with her associate degrees in liberal arts and public administration.
A , Ramirez continued her college education via UH West Oʻahu’s distance learning program. She graduated in May 2022 with honors, earning a bachelor of arts in public administration with a concentration in justice administration.
Today she works full-time as an outreach program associate with the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) at UH Maui College. The program is dedicated to assisting first-generation immigrants and low-income students.
“A few students have reached out to the program I work for to see if they can qualify for additional assistance through UH Maui,” she said. “It is devastating to see a good chunk of the place where you grew up destroyed.”
As Roots Reborn’s lead coordinator and frontline organizer during the Lahaina fires crisis, Ramirez continues to volunteer when and where she can, mostly assisting with running the Roots Reborn .
She was recently responsible for marketing Roots Reborn’s inaugural celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in November, one of the most important holidays in México and a time to remember departed loved ones. Ramirez said this event was created to honor those who lost their lives in the Lahaina fire.
The team has been coordinating and mobilizing a multi-lingual volunteer base to respond to immigrant needs, some of which are still emerging. “Our team really benefits from volunteers who are fluent in Spanish, Ilokano and Tagalog,” Ramirez said.
Interested Maui-based volunteers, should fill out this , and Roots Reborn is also accepting .
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—by Zenaida Serrano Arvman