Aaron Fontan is a leader at the University of San Francisco, working towards social justice impacting voting rights, housing, and Latinx communities. He participated in the Martin-Baro Scholars Program, a living-learning community that focuses on reviving democracy during crisis where he researched and engaged with San Francisco communities. As part of USFVotes, he is involved with voter engagement, helping over 10,000 students register to vote and participate in elections. Aaron was also a Community Empowerment Activist, acquiring organizing skills as an intern with the Housing Rights Committee (HRC), a grassroots organization that offers free counseling for San Francisco tenants in all types of housing serving over 5,000 tenants a year. Here, he created associations across the city to organize and mobilize tenants to take action. Last summer, Aaron was a McCarthy Fellow in Sacramento where he interned with the California Democratic Party to build a stronger pipeline of progressive leaders. Most recently, Aaron worked in Washington, D.C. on the Hispanic Federation’s federal policy team, gaining first-hand experience on the process of advocating for policy that uplifts all Latinx communities. Aaron is committed to be an agent of change through grassroots organizing, community building, and implementing policy that serves the people.
Throughout my life, I have always striven to create a more humane and just world. At an early age, I developed a deep passion to serve others and was exposed to poverty and inequity in my own community in Los Angeles. With my family, I would volunteer to provide direct services to unhoused individuals and through this experience, recognize the breadth of stories and challenges were much like my own. My approach to social justice stems from acknowledging everyone’s humanity to promote the common good through a lens of humility. My goal is to be in the best position to help others achieve their fullest potential and to create change in our communities. Whether I am organizing tenant associations to develop strategies combating eviction with the Housing Rights Committee or registering over 10,000 students at my university to vote, these enriching experiences all play a part in my pathway to public service. I plan to use my passion for service and community engagement to open a community bakery that provides access to food, resources, and housing to the underserved. It’s much easier to create sustainable solutions for everyone on a full stomach rather than an empty one.