Narratives: Mia Jimenez ’20

Mia Jimenez

As a writer, Mia Jimenez elevates voices often excluded from mainstream narratives. As a public policy advocate, Mia knows the on-the-ground impact hearing those stories can have.

“I’m gathering experiences from marginalized sex workers—so, trans sex workers, sex workers of color, disabled or non-neurotypical people,” Mia said about their conference for “Narrative Journalism in the Age of S-Town and Other Serialized Podcasts” with writing professor and working journalist Ann Heppermann.

Mia produced a series of nuanced podcast episodes, bringing together stories at the intersections of marginalized identities.

“Too often, you only hear these stories after something horribly violent has happened,” Mia said. “The conversation needs to be so much more complex—the end goal is decriminalization.”

Mia is grateful for classroom experiences that prepared them to talk about big ideas, even with someone who “totally disagrees with you,” especially in public policy professor Luisa Heredia’s class, “The Politics of Illegality, Surveillance, and Protest.” Mia’s conference paper focused on mental health in undocumented communities in Chicago, where young activists are working to flip the script about the undocumented experience.

“Youth activists combated the silence that the generation before us was taught. Now people come out and say ‘I am undocumented and proud,’” Mia said.

Mia wasn’t content to write about communities from afar; during their senior year, Mia spent Wednesday evenings at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, writing poetry alongside incarcerated women under writing professor Suzanne Gardinier’s guidance.

“Half the class is SLC students, half the class is incarcerated women, and we’re all writing poetry and receiving college credit,” Mia said. “We’re all coming from really different places, and we don’t ignore that.”

Mia remembers realizing the complexity of their own personal identity during their first year at SLC. Their literature and poetry conference work often reflected on gender and racial identity, and they tried to convey those ideas to their mother, who passed away about a year before Mia graduated.

“When I look back on a lot of my writing, it’s always connected to my mom and gender and sexuality and trying to come out to her in different ways, trying to navigate our relationship.” Mia said.