Born in Santa Cruz in 1994, Ariana Jones lived here for the first few years of her life. Her family moved around to different parts of California but would return to Santa Cruz. Ariana was twelve years old when she returned. She attended New Brighton Middle School and Soquel High School. As a mixed-race BIPOC (an inclusive term designating Black, Indigenous, and People/Person of Color) Latinx woman, she experienced the difficulties of not quite fitting into Mexican and white communities as a young person growing up in Santa Cruz. Ariana uses these experiences to create positive change within the community. The recent movements for civil rights, particularly Black Lives Matter, inspired Ariana and her partner Bella to create a community organization called Blended Bridge for folks who are looking for an inclusive space to be themselves with others. Ariana works a regular job in fitness, writes blog posts, leads book club discussions, and serves the Santa Cruz community by creating safe spaces to discuss issues of race and identity.
Ariana Jones Blended
“Growing up as a mixed kid in Santa Cruz was difficult; I did not know how to handle the harsh reality of Santa Cruz’s passive-aggressive racism. Nothing prepares one for the glares that inform them [that they] do not belong here.”
“Our focus is to prioritize the BIPOC perspective, create a safe space to discuss historical transgressions, to educate and to help our community.”
“Black and Brown’s liberation is not separate. Our communities have both been through genocide and torn from our ancestral practices. The same people who enslaved Africans are the same people who massacred the Indigenous. The same people who continue to perpetuate violence in our communities. While the means of genocide and converting to another religion may have been different, we have experienced the same thing. Our communities have been the victim of white supremacy for far too long.”