Anabella Bastida: Alumna Works to Foster Education in Mexican Immigrant Communities
Although Anabella Bastida (Class of ’04, B.A., liberal studies; ’05, teaching credential; ’07, M.A., multicultural education) began working at Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamérica (COFEM) to earn some money while getting her teaching credential, the part-time job became a full-time passion when she realized that she could make a real difference working in a leadership role at the Los Angeles-based nonprofit.
Four years later, having moved up the ladder to the position of director of administration and operations, Bastida oversees the everyday financial needs of running the organization. In addition, she works to ensure that the parents and youth of the Latino immigrant community are aware of the transformative nature of getting an education. In November, she organized COFEM’s second Higher Education Summit, which was held at her alma mater, California State University, Dominguez Hills. The event provided potential college students and their parents with information on scholarships and opportunities, how to choose a major, and success stories from those who had earned their degrees.
“We want the Latino immigrant community to have the access to go to university,” says Bastida, who established the event two years ago. “Education is the key to crystallize all your dreams, something that nobody can take away from you. You can do whatever you want with an education.”
A native of Michoacán, Mexico, Bastida is the first in her family of three sisters to graduate with a college degree. Her experience on campus has inspired her younger sister to choose the university for her education.
“When I [visited] the campus, it was beautiful,” says Bastida. “But in addition to that, I felt very accepted. It felt like a home. The environment is very welcoming and there are great professors. A person that I really consider my angel was Imelda Quintanar [associate director, Educational Opportunity Program]. She provided me with a lot of guidance. Another professor, Dr. [José López] Morín, gave me a lot of support, along with Dr. Miguel [Dominguez], Anne Garrett [thesis assistant for Graduate Studies & Research)] and Dr. [Lilia] Sarmiento [professor of teacher education].”
Bastida also formed a close bond with her fellow students, many of whom are now teachers in the Los Angeles area, and she often reconnects with them for help with projects at COFEM.
“When I need their support, I just call them and they help me,” she says. We make a kind of family.”
Bastida is proud that she is able to use the skills she gained at CSU Dominguez Hills in her current role of not only encouraging the pursuit of education, but ensure bi-national economic development, health care, and policy advocacy for the communities it serves.
One of her next big projects will be helping the Latino community participate in the 2010 Census.
“What we stress is that we are important,” she says of the need for Latino communities to participate. “We need to be counted in order for us to have more services, more education. Every person counts. Nobody has to have fear of being counted because of the benefits to our communities.”
- Joanie Harmon