Kriti Vashisht and Natalia Chavez are passionate about challenging racial inequity and bias. As two participants in Net Impact’s most recent Racial Equity Fellowship cohort, they each spent the last few months educating their peers, initiating difficult conversations, and inspiring change on their college campuses.

Supported by the Symantec Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the fellowship is a leadership development program that supports students as they design and implement a racial equity action project on campus. Kriti and Natalia received a stipend to complete their action project, virtual leadership development training, and registration to the Net Impact Conference as part of the program.

Kriti, a PhD student at Texas A&M University, broughtmarginalized voices to the mainstream in India before moving to the U.S. for graduate school. After using digital story telling with children from low socio-economic backgrounds in slums in India to tell their stories about safe spaces, she saw firsthand that policies affecting marginalized communities were enacted by those living in high-wealth countries.

She came to Corpus Christi, Texas as an Indian woman of color and international student to add her voice and contribute to humanity. According to Kriti, “My department is very diverse and has been inclusive and open about the discomfort international and non-white students were facing given the U.S. political environment. We saw hate posters displayed in the library after the 2016 election and while I believe the administration handled the situation well, I saw that international students were looked upon as a liability – as people taking away American jobs.”

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