Students for Economic Justice 2017 Fellowship
Riley Avila was born in San Diego and grew up in Temecula, CA, closely situated near the reservation of his Native American tribal community of Pechanga. Riley moved back down to San Diego where he graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Ethnic Studies and Behavioral Neuroscience. His early years of education were dedicated to the sciences, however his classes in Ethnic Studies spurred his growing passion for social justice, and activism. It was his involvement with USD’s Ethnic Studies Department that provided Riley with opportunities to connect with local tribal communities housed in San Diego, as well as his first activism experiences that engaged him with the Black Lives Matter movement. It was also through his education in Ethnic Studies, that Riley was able to learn how to critically assess the dominant master narratives that attempt to mask the injustices experienced by underserved communities. With his involvement in SEJ, Riley hopes to gain hands-on experiences that will further his abilities to navigate and fight for issues regarding social justice.