Alumni in Action

Christian Alcalá
Public School Teacher

3rd Grade Teacher

Garfield High School, Class of 2004

Cal State State University Los Angeles, Class of 2009

B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Elementary School Education




'I’m proactive in nurturing the whole child to make sure my students are ready for life.’


Why did you get involved in InnerCity Struggle? 

It was really impactful to see young kids advocate for what we need to improve our education. It felt like a really good opportunity to take an active role in shaping what I think school should be in the Eastside.   


What campaigns were you a part of? 

I was part of the New Schools campaign and the tardy room campaign. The following year I volunteered with Familias Unidas with the A-G campaign after I graduated.


Do you have a favorite memory of your time at InnerCity Struggle?

We organized a march as part of our New Schools campaign to get a new high school built in the Eastside. We marched from the LA County Supervisors building to the LA School Board meeting. One of the school board members met with us after the Board meeting and listened to our concerns, and it felt empowering to be taken seriously, even as high school students.




Why are you a teacher?

Initially, I wanted to be a journalist. I joined the local newspaper in East Los Angeles, and while I enjoyed writing, I didn’t feel like I was making a big enough impact on the kids in East L.A. I wanted to make sure kids in East L.A. felt successful.


I feel like every year I make decisions about what’s best for my students and being from the community, I know first-hand the things they’re dealing with. I want to make sure I’m proactive in nurturing the whole child to make sure they’re ready for life. 


How did being a part of InnerCity Struggle as a youth impact who you are today? 

Learning about the history of education in East L.A., especially the history of organizing made me realize how much we’ve fought to get to where we are today. And it’s not enough. We need to make sure the education system is fair and sets up East L.A. kids to be successful. Being a part of InnerCity Struggle created a sense of urgency in me to help directly address the opportunity gap our students face. 


What advice would you give to young people today?

As young people, you need to advocate for what you feel is right for your community. People are going to make decisions for you, if you don’t take lead and become a part of the conversation. 


Meet More Alumni

Aldo_Shot_BW.jpg Marisol_Profile_BW.jpg VC_pic_BW.jpg

Aldo Macias Arellano

Marisol Samayoa

Vanessa Calderon