Flavio Bravo MA ’19

Director, Arizona Democracy Collaborative

Flavio Bravo holding shirt that says "I support undocumented students"

When he was growing up in Phoenix, Flavio Bravo knew early on that he wanted to be like labor leader César Chávez. 

“My uncle, Manuel Luis Ortega, worked and organized with César Chávez, and I grew up always hearing the stories,” Bravo says. “My uncle was the first in our family to attend and graduate from college. He was very humble, very modest. He was a role model for me.”

Today, Bravo is director of a collective of nonprofits based in Arizona, a border state that had a profound impact on the 2020 presidential election. The group works to enhance the underrepresented vote in the United States.

This past election was an incredible experience,” he says. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew the voter registration numbers would be very low. We participated in a lawsuit to extend the deadline, and we won in the courts. This resulted in an additional 35,000 new voter registrations statewide ahead of the November election.

Flavio Bravo with USF students in DC

“This past election was an incredible experience,” he says. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew the voter registration numbers would be very low. We participated in a lawsuit to extend the deadline, and we won in the courts. This resulted in an additional 35,000 new voter registrations statewide ahead of the November election.”

While he was at USF, Bravo lived and worked in a migrant shelter in Fruitvale in Oakland, commuting to campus. It was a valuable lesson while he studied migration studies, he says.

“I could see the bigger picture, because I could see the immigrant families where I lived.”

Bravo also had the benefit of daily conversations with his USF adviser, law Professor Bill Ong Hing, a fellow Arizonan. The talks bolstered Bravo’s intention of going back to his hometown and working there. He had seen Arizona moving to restrict higher education and health care for immigrant families. “That’s not who Arizona is,” he says. “I want to change that.”