Due to political corruption, violence and a lack of educational opportunities in Central America, Kevin Figueroa’s family migrated north to the United States. Raised in Koreatown, Los Angeles, Kevin had a very diverse childhood upbringing. However, while attending a high school near downtown Los Angeles, Kevin witnessed various forms of violence due to unrelenting rivalry between gangs in the school’s sector. As a first generation student, Kevin hopes to inspire youth to choose to attain an education over a dangerous life of gang affiliation. He enjoys tutoring kids and volunteering to speak at high schools to demystify higher education. In 2016, Kevin obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. During his undergraduate career, he completed a research internship with the city’s Rent Stabilization Board, a board composed of nine elected commissioners that advance housing policies with regard to low-income persons, minorities, students, disabled, and the elderly. Kevin conducted his research on the displacement of low-income students attempting to live near the UC Berkeley campus.
Furthermore, through the Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, Kevin studied California’s legislative process and completed a full-time internship in the California State Senate, Office of President pro tempore, Senator De León. The Senator represented California’s 24th State Senate district, which encompasses the city of Los Angeles. Through Kevin’s experience in the capitol, he acquired knowledge on progressive gun policy, education policy and immigration policy, all of which played a major role in his upbringing. Kevin seeks to think critically of policies that create social inequalities and hopes to advance American society by uplifting marginalized communities. As a founder for the first Central American student organization at the University of California, Berkeley Central Americans for Empowerment (CAFE), Kevin aspires to build intersectional community on campus, promote inclusion in society and inspire others to share narratives that are often overlooked. With this new organization, he is determined to organize students and distinguished professors against the deprivation of basic human rights within the Central American region.