Leading ACTor: Cecilia Garcia Meruvia

ACT Community Listening & Strategic Planning Team

Meet Cecilia Garcia Meruvia, Community Advisory Board Member for the Fund for Racial Equity! Cecilia’s warmth and passion for advocacy are clear to see even,  in a quick conversation. She’s determined to give a voice to the voiceless, and she’s found that with ACT.

A mental health professional by trade, Cecilia has deep experience working with families and teenagers in high risk populations. Her own story of immigration from Bolivia helps her understand the challenges of people who suffer due to systemic racism. Now that she’s lived in the DC area for 15 years, she feels at home, but will always remember the difficulties she faced as an immigrant woman.

Cecilia’s partnership with ACT began two years ago during the “tsunami” of COVID, when a co-worker connected her with Chief Program Officer Brandi Yee. “We clicked immediately,” Cecilia says. “We have the same view to support the community.” Since that time, she participated on ACT’s Community Listening and Strategic Planning team ands became involved with the Racial Equity Fund, serving on the Community Advisory Board.

Currently, Cecilia works with Afghan and Latino communities on the west side of Alexandria. She focuses on the trauma that threads its way through these populations, who have moved from their homes to a new place. Cecilia says she clearly sees where the city needs to address racial equity. “You can see it play out even in the libraries,” she says. “One side of Alexandria is very wealthy, and the other side is very poor, and some books are only available on one side of the city.”

Cecilia’s work has found a home at ACT. “ACT listens to us – we are free to listen to each other and to share,” she says. Because ACT empowers her to work directly with the community, Cecilia says she’s able to amplify the voices of those who are often ignored. She emphasizes that racial equity isn’t about telling people what they need, “It’s about what people actually say.”

Throughout her work, Cecilia has found that, “Racism isn’t the only issue – it’s also the disconnection to support each other in a better way.” Connection is one of Cecilia’s skills, and she says she’s excited for what they can do together.


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