Home at Last

Home at Last

Chrissy RomoMeet Chrissy Romo, co-president of La Fuerza, the Latina student group at Saint Mary’s College. Like many student leaders, she’s coming into her own as she begins her senior year. But she’s also the same person she always was, growing up Mexican American in Houston, Tex.

“In my house, faith was always a part of our culture. We grew up in faith,” says Romo. At 13, she was the youngest altar server at her church. When she got to Saint Mary’s, she joined Campus Ministry and became and acolyte and lector at student masses. Romo began dancing at the age of four. Continuing that passion in college, she joined Ballet Folklórico Azul y Oro, a Saint Mary’s-Notre Dame dance company that celebrates Hispanic traditions.

Romo’s father is an MRI technologist and her mother worked as a physical therapist. At Saint Mary’s, she is pursuing a psychology major as a first step toward medical school. “I’d like to open a free clinic and focus on kids,” she says. “Back at home, I see how lucky I am to have parents who have stable jobs, who have medical care and insurance. When I go visit my grandparents on the side of town where they live, I see people who don’t have that, who can barely afford medicines and care. I want to try and help.”

While Romo’s empathy for others began at home, she has kindled that spark into a flame at Saint Mary’s. Inspired by a campus visit from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, she has worked to raise awareness about the situation of immigrants. Last year, she helped plan a bilingual mass, a day of fasting and silent protest, a candlelight vigil, and display of crosses on the Library Green with facts about immigration. “The turnout and community involvement were absolutely amazing,” says Romo. Parishioners from a local Hispanic Catholic church attended the events, and are working with Romo to prepare a “week of action” for the coming year—including a talk by labor organizer Dolores Huerta sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Ironically, when Romo first came to Saint Mary’s, she wasn’t sure if she would fit in. Her work with La Fuerza changed that. “As I started going to the meetings and talking to some of the other students, I got the feeling that this is where I belong,” she says. “It feels like home to me.”