Dr. Ivonne Wallace Fuentes: Making History Beyond the Classroom
Photo Courtesy of PR
Article Written by Paige Stewart
Many college students are unaware of the lives their professors lead outside the classroom. Dr. Ivonne Wallace Fuentes, a professor in Roanoke College’s History department, however, makes her activities quite transparent, not only to her students, but also to the greater Roanoke community.
Wallace Fuentes is the founder of the Roanoke Indivisible group, which is a local chapter of the national political movement by the same name. This group of progressives works to combat the policies of President Donald Trump by coordinating bands of local members to lobby, make phone calls, and collect donations within their communities.
At its forefront is the Indivisible Guide, a clear, step-by-step manual that is available on the national website for anyone interested to explore. It outlines opportunities for protesters to take direct action against Republican policy. By fighting at the grassroots level, the Indivisible campaign aims to make a national impact.
Wallace Fuentes was prompted to initiate a chapter of Indivisible in Roanoke County after the presidential election last November. Her immediate response to the election results was to gather a group of activists who sympathized with the condition in which minority groups such as Latinos, women, and the LGBTQ+ community would be treated. When this movement began accepting applications for local chapters on Jan. 2 of this year, Wallace Fuentes decided to start the Roanoke chapter. She also runs the Roanoke group’s Facebook page, which has expanded its audience from 12 people to almost 900 in just four months.
Since its inception, Wallace Fuentes said she has made many contributions to the Indivisible campaign. She is responsible for coordinating group actions against the local Republican agenda. Because Representative Bob Goodlatte has not held a town hall since 2013, for example, Wallace Fuentes organized one in Vinton in February.
She also joined a group of Indivisible that protested proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act at Goodlatte’s office.
By taking these actions, Wallace Fuentes said she hopes to show that the American people have more power over political events than they might think.
“The impact I hope to make is to remind myself everyday that this is not something that is just happening to me and over which I have no control,” she said. “As a citizen and a constituent, our system depends on my participation and my consultation with my elected representatives.”
Students at Roanoke College who are interested in getting involved with Indivisible are welcome to attend a discussion panel entitled “Ask Me Anything About Immigration” this Saturday from 10 am – 12 pm at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge.
The panel will consist of immigration activists and experts in immigration policy.
Looking towards the future, Wallace Fuentes feels that her job is fairly clear.
“It is my job now to give the Congressional representatives who speak in my name an incentive to listen to my opinions on the life and death decisions they are making every day,” she said.