Wonder Women Wednesday: Carla Naranjo

By Kristie-Valerie Hoang
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She is wise. She is strong. She is a warrior.

Wonder Woman, one of the most iconic and powerful superheroes, serves as a role model across the world. Her character leads by example, fights for justice, and strives for peace. But Wonder Woman doesn’t just appear in films and comic books—she’s in our daily lives, embodied in those who fight against inequality. Join us each Wednesday as we highlight wonder women from campuses across the country who are leading the charge for change.

The strictest anti-illegal immigration measure passed while Carla Naranjo was in middle school. Years later, Donald Trump was elected president. The outcome of the 2016 presidential election drove the rising junior at Arizona State University towards activism because, as she puts it, “it was evident that politics and government did not reflect me nor my community so I sought to be a part of that change.”

So, Naranjo became the manager of current ASU Tempe student body President Hanna Salem’s campaign. One of Salem’s platforms included menstrual equity, which Naranjo had already spent her sophomore year organizing for through ASU’s on-campus Planned Parenthood student organization. But Salem’s policy platforms aside, Naranjo stepped into the campaign to expand her electoral organizing experience.

As campaign manager, I was able to touch on every aspect of the campaign, including communications, finance, and political. I had my own criticisms of ASU’s student government so I sought to seek change in my own community.”

The author and friends sporting campaign t-shirts for the Salem campaign and giving the ASU “Fork ‘Em Devils” hand sign.

Students responded positively to Naranjo and the Salem campaign’s platform, but the race wasn’t absolved from backlash entirely.

It was more important for us to set a precedent of civility in student government campaigns on campus than to stoop down to political moves to secure our victory. We knew that at the end of the day, if we inspired enough students to believe in us, we would succeed.”

Next year, Naranjo will continue her work on campus both at Planned Parenthood Generation Action and as a Community Assistant in a residence hall. Following graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school and ultimately work as an advocate for marginalized communities. Her greatest takeaway from the Salem campaigns remains the unity she saw expressed throughout the student body for positive change:

We had the ability to hear directly from student leaders all over campus about the issues they cared about. Despite our differences in majors, interests, and beliefs, every student we talked to was passionate about the changes they wanted to see in student government.”

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