Estefania Mitre is a Mexican immigrant who currently attends the University of Texas at El Paso where she studies journalism. For Estefania, her involvement in politics was not a choice. She was exposed to politics at a young age while living in Juarez, Mexico—a dangerous city, according to her. To Estefania, politics is about community and fellowship. “I know what it feels like to not have a voice,” she says, “[e]veryone has issues. We come from the same place. We have the same struggles.” Estefania uses her budding journalism career to give those struggling voices a platform.
Estefania grew up in Juarez, Mexico. As she grew older, Estefania’s family recognized that she may not be safe in this community given her dream to work in journalism and share progressive stories. “Everyone fears for their life or wants to do something but never comes forward,” Estefania says. Estefania applied for a green card when she was 15 but did not move to the United States until she finished her first year attending college in Juarez. Because Estefania’s father was a United States citizen, she did not have to take the 120 question citizenship test. However, her father encouraged her to study for the exam so she would have a better understanding of American culture.
After first receiving her green card, Estefania had difficulty crossing back and forth into the United States. Her paperwork was unusual to border patrol agents—given the fact that she received her green card through her father’s citizenship status. Agents would criticize her paperwork or accuse her or using false documentation. Sometimes, she wasn’t even able to cross into the country. On top of it all, she did not speak English at the time, so it was difficult for her to communicate with the agents. Estefania started to recognize the struggle that immigrants face in America. This shaped her into an activist for social justice.
Estefania started to attend El Paso Community College when she permanently immigrated to Texas. She remembers experiencing her first encounter with American politics after she attended a diversity training on campus. There were workshops available for training on other marginalized communities, like the LGBTQ community. It was something she was not exposed to in Mexico. Estefania drew on her similar struggles with other communities and decided that she wanted to uplift the voices of others who do not have the platform.
Estefania’s journalism career began by accident. In Summer 2019, she was assigned to cover the first Democratic presidential primary debate hosted in Miami, Florida by NBCUniversal. After the debate, the MSNBC team asked Estefania and her peers what issues were most important to them for the upcoming election. She was inspired by her experience and started reaching out to local news outlets, she then started working with El Paso Herald-Post. She vividly recalls one of her first assignments taking place at a protest against the closure of schools in El Paso School District at the Barrio Chamizal. She was asked to simply take photos to draft a brief write-up, but her assignment turned into an opinion piece. She started to tackle opinion pieces for other issues affecting the community, providing perspective from local voices.
Now, Estefania serves as an Instagram Fellow, reporting online content for Spanish social media outlets like El Diario New York and La Opinion Los Angeles. She also is a contributor for the El Paso Herald-Post. Estefania is preparing to graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso, receiving a degree in Journalism and a certification in bilingual professional writing.
Follow Estefania on Instagram to catch her latest pieces and updates: @xtefannia