Kelly Sulca-Hernandez’s earliest memories involve art, and she is appreciative of the fact that “the arts influence every fun and enjoyable aspect of human life, from the media we consume to the clothing on our backs.” It’s no surprise that she’s pursuing an associate degree in Communication Design at Northampton Community College (NCC). After graduating in 2022, Sulca-Hernandez plans to transfer to Kutztown University’s Communication Design program to earn a bachelor’s degree in the field. She wants to use her art as a tool to advocate for change.

“Through my advocacy efforts, I hope to use my creative voice in the ongoing fight against racism and systemic oppression. My goal as an artist is to create work that challenges my audience to think critically about social issues.”

In January 2020, Sulca-Hernandez traveled to Cairo, Egypt through NCC’s study abroad program. This trip interested her because it focused heavily on ancient and modern Egyptian art. During the trip, Sulca-Hernandez honed her observational drawing skills and completed her first travel sketchbook.

Sulca-Hernandez previously volunteered with Make the Road PA, an organization dedicated to uniting the working-class Latino community. She assisted the group with voter registration, advocated for workers’ rights, and worked to shut down the Berks County Residential Center, one of three such immigrant detention centers in the county where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained asylum-seeking migrant families. Sulca-Hernandez has also participated in Black Lives Matter protests while fighting against state violence on a local level.

As a woman of color, Sulca-Hernandez has experienced racism and prejudice from an early age.

“I have called out racism several times in my life which has led to some difficult conversations, moments of education, and at times, hostility,” she said. “As I have gotten older, I’ve become less afraid of using my voice to advocate for positive change. I’ve since learned that I no longer wish to preserve another person’s comfort at my own expense or the expense of other marginalized folks.”

If Sulca-Hernandez could have one wish granted, she would love to be able to instantly learn a new language because it would allow her to establish meaningful connections with different people.  

For the world, she would wish for a more equal society so that people could live freely without fear of subjugation. She believes that creating more attainable resources will allow communities and people to flourish.

Sulca-Hernandez enjoys drawing, traveling, baking, reading, and spending time with her Shiba Inu, Heidi. The number one item on her bucket list is to travel outside of the U.S. and visit the Inari shrine in Kyoto, Japan.