Jordee Rodriguez Canales

Today's spotlight feature is 2018 corps member Jordee Rodriguez Canales. Jordee is a senior from Laredo, Texas, double majoring in Government and Rhetoric & Writing with a certificate in the Jefferson Scholars program. Next fall, she will be teaching in San Antonio, Texas. On the UT campus, Jordee has held a multitude of leadership positions, most notably in Senate of College Councils, University Democrats, University Leadership Network, and Texas Orange Jackets. She currently serves as the President of  Liberal Arts Council.

Jordee initially became interested in Teach For America because of her mother. Her mom, a judge in Mexico, was kidnapped and killed because of her profession. Jordee reasons that "If my mother could risk her life fighting for justice, so can I. I strive to effectuate justice in any area that I see needs it." Additionally, throughout her childhood, her father worked hard to get his children the best education, sending Jordee to a magnet high school in a relatively affluent neighborhood. She was exposed to social and economic inequities in her community between the different school districts where she found it unfair that she was offered many resources solely due to the placement of her school. 

Jordee is excited to fight inequity with Teach For America and become a role model for girls who feel marginalized as she did. "I, as a bisexual Latina woman, felt like my identity as a human had been devalued. I believed that this country did not see me as a person or an equal. In TFA, I want to serve as a mentor to encourage girls like me that they are equals in this country. I want all people to feel human."

As Jordee has served as the legal guardian of her younger brother and sister for the past year, she feels that she is prepared her for her time in the classroom. She dealt with the adolescence of her younger brother and supported him all the way to college, and plans to do the same with her class full of children in San Antonio.

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"As human beings, everyone centers their lives on themselves, believing that things will happen in their time. I am not the start of a movement, nor will I see it through to its end. I am not its entirety. Moving the cause forward is what truly matters, even if you do not see it through in your lifetime."

After her time in San Antonio, Jordee plans to attend law school so that she can be best equipped to effectuate justice in communities.  Of her long-term plans, Jordee says "I plan to run for office so that I can represent people like me and pass legislation that supports all populations." She goes on to express her deep-rooted interest in helping communities of color. "The United States has never had one Latina senator and we have been a country for 240 years. We are the least paid population in America, receiving about fifty-two cents for every dollar a white man makes. I find that to be a huge issue and want to change it. I want to see more Latinos have higher education and represent our population in government."

Jordee's advice for students considering Teach For America? "If you have a passion for equity and if you have a passion for seeing justice through, do not be discouraged by the application process. Any step toward equity and any step towards improving the lives of people of color is a step of value and meaning." 

Stay tuned for more 2018 Corps Member features each Tuesday! If you have any interest in applying, talk to our Recruitment Manager, Jorge Galan. He can be reached at Jorge.Galan@teachforamerica.org.

Jorge Galan