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Flores Leads the Way in Social Justice Movement

By Jacqui Shine '05

Junior Nichole Flores has translated a lifelong commitment to social change into a leadership role at the forefront of a national movement that strives to connect Catholic students across the globe. The new international relations and communications chair of the National Catholic Student Coalition (NCSC), Nichole -- who had previously held regional leadership roles within the organization -- will now work with students from across the country to write and implement resolutions expressing the views of Catholic young adults on a variety of international issues. The committee also works to organize affiliate groups in other nations. Most recently, the group has sought to forge ties with Catholic students in Iraq.

The NCSC, which is the American chapter of the International Movement of Catholic Students and is one of the largest student-driven social justice movements in the United States, plays an important role in creating change and enhancing cooperation and collaboration among Catholics worldwide. Because the NCSC has affiliate groups in more than 90 countries, Flores recognizes that her work with the International Relations Committee has the potential to not only “give voice to Catholic students,” but also to create positive change as well. She’s working on developing an international conference for groups from the International Movement of Catholic Students, which is scheduled to convene in Barcelona, Spain in August 2003. She’s also planning a demonstration in Fort Benning, Georgia, at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly called the School of the Americas) -- a United States–sponsored international military training school that NCSC is targeting for its alleged role in human rights abuses in Latin America.

Flores, who is majoring in government at Smith, has long been committed to justice and peace work and draws on her Catholic faith as a source of guidance and inspiration. “I feel a strong call to live my faith on an international level,” she says. “I feel charged with bringing Christ’s message of peace to the world.”

Nichole’s work with the NCSC should prepare her well for her anticipated future in politics; she plans to attend law school, likely at a Catholic institution, and anticipates running for political office. Whatever the future may hold, though, she believes that it will ultimately lead her back to her home in Colorado.

“I’d like to bring what I’ve learned -- Catholic and otherwise -- back to Denver,” she says. “It’s a community that I love and ultimately want to take care of.”

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