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April 2021 - Mariah Grant

A human rights scholar and activist who is passionate about migrant rights and has worked with several organizations to support and advocate for immigrants, she first came to Tierra in 2018 to hone her skills so that she could better serve the families she was working to reunite. Her acute interest in the interweaving of language and culture and unique need to strengthen her skills for her admirable work render her an insightful student, always seeking to deepen her understanding. In 2019 she relocated to the east coast and we were delighted to see her back for classes when the pandemic catapulted us online in spring 2020. Since then she’s remained steadfast in her studies, bringing focused dedication, genuine curiosity, and a compassionate spirit to the virtual classroom. We are honored to count Mariah as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to hearing about the amazing places and inspiring work that she takes on next.


Name: Mariah Grant
Occupation: Human Rights Advocate
Time Studying at Tierra: Since 2018

1) Why are you studying Spanish?

"For most of my life I have wanted to study Spanish with the goal of being fluent. Over fifteen years ago I was an exchange student in the Canary Islands, Spain where I worked hard to learn Spanish. Since then, I have volunteered and worked with Spanish speakers in different industries. In 2017, I started as a case manager with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) doing family reunification for children who came to the US through the southern border with Mexico.

Many of the children and families I worked with spoke Spanish as a first or second language. It was at that time that I looked into furthering my Spanish skills and began taking classes at Tierra Educational Center. I have since moved onto other jobs and relocated to Washington, DC but continue to volunteer as a Child Advocate with an organization that works with children placed in ORR facilities. In this role I continue to use my Spanish skills as well as through volunteering with the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Coalition as a hotline and immigration jail visit volunteer."

2) What is your favorite part about your experience here at Tierra?

"I love that I was able to begin taking classes in-person while living in Portland and then as one of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was able to continue my studies remotely while living in Washington, DC. Since spring 2020 I have taken several classes with Cynthia and have really loved the language skills and cultural knowledge she teaches. During a time where it was easy to feel disconnected, she brought students together and created a sense of community." 

3) Can you tell us of a time you have been able to use what you have learned studying here?

"I use the knowledge gained through classes at Tierra regularly. Whether it be through my role as a Child Advocate or volunteering with CAIR Coaltion, I am consistently using the skills I gain in class in my everyday life. Improving my Spanish language skills is also helping me to plan my next move. I would love to return to live in a predominately Spanish speaking country where I can continue to work towards my goal of being fluent. Tierra is helping me to work towards that goal.

All of the teachers I have had at Tierra have been wonderful. I am so grateful to be a part of the classes there!"

¡Felicidades Mariah!