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Sonia Hart

Alianza’s Activist

There is a considerable gap between saying something and doing it. Sonia Hart will be remembered for her actions at Northwestern.

As an Associated Student Government senator and co-president of Alianza, the largest Hispanic and Latino organization on campus, Hart founded and chaired LSP Ahora!, the Latino studies program committee. She led a group of students to the administration in support of new faculty hires then in the process of being made in Latino studies. Hart also organized a petition drive that gathered more than 1,200 signatures in support of a more robust Latino studies curriculum at Northwestern.

The senior from Cicero, Ill., comes at the question of Latino studies from an unusual background. Her maternal grandparents emigrated to the United States from Mexico. Her father’s Swiss and English ancestors include Declaration of Independence signer John Hart.

“Having blood from black and indigenous Mexican people on one side and white, early-American revolutionaries on the other makes an interesting, complex space for me to consider identity,” Hart says. “My own ethnic background fuels my interest in Latino studies and these types of dynamic backgrounds.”

Beyond the campus, the human development and psychological services major has participated in immigrants’ rights marches and Northwestern Opposing War and Racism rallies in Chicago and Georgia and worked with the Florida-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers in protest of low wages. She taught English as a second language in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood and completed her practicum with the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic. She also studied abroad in Krakow, earning credit that will help her to graduate a year early.

She plans to attend graduate school and pursue work in social services. “Human connections, relationships between people, are so powerful,” Hart says. “In the social services that’s what you do. You touch people, and hopefully that relationship is healing.”

— Robert Brenner (J07)

Photo by Andrew Campbell