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Miranda’s Right: Be a Leader, Do the Right Thing

Chicago interns March 2015
Chicago Youth Peacebuilding and Justice interns, from left, Raul Vazquez, Eric Miranda, Jessica Alaniz and Luis Rodriguez Photo: Jon Krieg / AFSC
Raul Vazquez and mother of disappeared youth April 2015
Raul Vazguez gives a t-shirt he made to one of the mothers of the 43 students disappeared in Ayotzinapa, Mexico; she visited Chicago on April 6, 2015. Raul is an intern with the Chicago Youth Peacebuilding and Justice Program. Photo: AFSC
Chicago con Ayotzinapa
Chicago con Ayotzinapa - list of events from April 3-6, 2015. More info at www.caravan43.com and www.ayotzniapa.com. Photo: AFSC

Eric Miranda tells his young daughter two things every morning when he drops her off at school: “Be a leader, and do the right thing.” If he forgets, she reminds him. No wonder she’s on the dean’s list and praised for her leadership skills.

This spring semester, Eric’s been practicing his own advice as an intern with AFSC’s Youth Peacebuilding and Justice Program in Chicago. A four-year veteran of the military, he’s currently finishing his Justice Studies major at Northeastern University.

Eric’s work for AFSC includes sharing this presentation about the 43 missing youth in Mexico with students at Hurley Elementary School in Chicago. Eric worked with the Chicago students to create artwork in remembrance of the missing students, letting their parents know that “they matter to us, as well.”

Eric says he’s learned so much about the non-profit world, helping people and accessing youth resources from his work with Darlene Gramigna, who directs the AFSC program. When his fellow Northeastern students talk together about their internships, Eric says, “I’m so eager to let my classmates know what’s going on.”

He says his main message to young people is, “You don’t have to live by the label you have. There’s a way out.”