Staff & Consultants
Cristina Jimenez (Managing Director)
Cristina Jiménez is a co-founder and the Managing Director of United We Dream. She served as chair of the Board of Directors and transitioned to staff in 2011. Cristina has organized immigrant youth and workers for the passage of the DREAM Act, comprehensive immigration reform, and pro-immigrant legislation at the local and national level since 2004. She co-founded the New York State Youth Leadership Council, was an immigration policy analyst for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and an immigrant rights organizer at the Latin American Integration Center, now merged as Make the Road New York. Cristina’s immigration policy work has been published in the American Prospect, El Diario, and the Huffington Post. Cristina was recently named among the “21 immigration reform power players” and one of 5 non-profit leaders who will influence public policy in 2013 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from the School of Public of Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Business from Queens College, CUNY. Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Cristina came to the U.S. with her family at the age of 13, attending high school and college as an undocumented student.
Alejandra Ruiz (Associate Managing Director)
A native of Colombia, Alejandra Ruiz came to the U.S. at the age of seven with her mother and younger brother. She was raised in the multicultural neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens in New York City and learned about the DREAM Act as valedictorian of her high school and an undocumented student. Alejandra was part of the New York State Youth Leadership Council from 2005-2006 and volunteered with AmeriCorps VISTA, running an after-school center at an affordable housing complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She also worked as a youth organizer with the Latin American Integration Center, now Make the Road New York, where she later returned as an Education Justice Organizer, launching their overcrowded schools campaign. Prior to joining the staff of United We Dream in June 2012, she completed the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs in San Francisco, California. Alejandra holds a B.S. in Urban & Regional Studies, a B.A. in Spanish Area Studies and concentrations in Inequality Studies, Latino Studies and Latin American studies from Cornell University.
Adrian Reyna (Data and Development Manager)
Adrian was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico and came to the U.S. with his parents in early 2004. He graduated from Humble High School in Humble, TX in 2009 and then began his studies at the University of Texas at Austin, focusing on Cultural Anthropology and Government Adrian joined the University Leadership Initiative at UT-Austin and co-founded and served as founding coordinator of the Texas Dream Alliance (TDA), the statewide network of immigrant youth organizations in Texas. He now lives in New York City and continues ethnographic work on intercultural relations and the clash of cultures in migration.
Kevin Kang (Program Director)
Kevin started his immigrant rights activism at the age of 15 at the MinKwon Center, a local Korean American community organization based in Flushing, Queens, where he was born, raised, and continues to live to this day. Since 2003, Kevin has been an ardent advocate and organizer around immigrant rights issues in the NYC Asian American community. In 2007, Kevin founded and directed the MinKwon Center’s Youth Empowerment Project, where he worked with hundreds of Korean and Asian American young people to become organizers and build power for immigration, education, and economic justice issues. Kevin formerly served as a Board member and Treasurer at UWD. Kevin holds a B.S. double-majoring in Political Science and Economics from CUNY Queens College.
Lorella Praeli (Advocacy & Policy Director)
Originally from Ica, Peru, Praeli immigrated to the United States at the age of 11 to receive medical treatment. After advocating for the adoption of anti-bullying measures at the legislative and community levels, she joined the student immigrant rights movement and came out as “undocumented and unafraid.” Lorella co-founded and directed Connecticut Students for a Dream and led the public advocacy campaign for the passage of the Connecticut in-state tuition bill. Her advocacy efforts and leadership with United We Dream played a key role in forcing the Obama administration to deliver reprieve from deportation and work permits to 1.4 million DREAMers through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Lorella graduated summa cum laude from Quinnipiac University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology.
Amanda Gutierrez (Advocacy Analyst and Manager)
Amanda has been supporting the immigrant youth movement since she was an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill. She represented faith leaders in the successful legislative campaign for in-state tuition in Connecticut and worked with UWD’s affiliate on a campaign to provide financial aid for undocumented students in the state. As a student at Yale Law School, Amanda represented day laborers in a federal civil rights lawsuit against local police and immigration law enforcement officers, advised workers with unpaid wage claims and provided policy support to labor unions and community-based organizations on a number of legislative and organizing campaigns. Prior to joining United We Dream, Amanda worked on immigrants’ rights at the Center for Justice and International Law. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Julieta Garibay (Legislative Affairs Associate)
Julieta Garibay moved to the U.S. at the age of 12 from Mexico City and lived in Texas for 20 years before moving to Washington, D.C. She holds a Master’s degree of Science in Public Health Nursing and a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Texas, where she graduated with honors. She’s held a license as a Registered Nurse in the state of Texas since 2004. In 2005, she co-founded the University Leadership Initiative (ULI) at the University of Texas- Austin, one of the first undocumented youth-led organizations in the nation. ULI promotes higher education and civic participation amongst immigrant youth and Julieta is currently a member of ULI’s Executive Board. She was also a founding board member of United We Dream.
Carmen Caneda (Operations & Finance Director)
Carmen Caneda first joined United We Dream in August 2012 as the project coordinator for UWD’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Campaign. She has been involved in immigrant issues since 1986, when she helped applicants apply for amnesty under the 1986 law. Prior to working with United We Dream, Carmen worked for the Service Employees International Union in its leadership development and organizational change program as the Deputy Director for Strategy and Operations. In addition she staffed the SEIU Ethics Commission that developed a comprehensive Ethics Code and Policies for Ethical Behavior. Other work experience includes involvement in the charter school movement and work with victims of domestic violence. Carmen holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Hafid Dumet (Operations and Administrative Coordinator)
Since 2010, Hafid Dumet has been an activist around local and national issues that affect undocumented immigrant youth and their families. Hafid was part of the in-state tuition campaign in Connecticut, winning tuition equity for undocumented students in the state. He co-founded CT Students for a Dream and Somos CT. Hafid is originally from Ica, Peru, and graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a BBA in Accounting in 2012. Hafid has previously worked as a community organizer at Junta for Progressive Action through the Dream Summer Program.
Kristin Ford (Senior Communications and Online Strategist)
Kristin has helped DREAMers and advocates communicate their message to the media and win key political battles. She was the communications director for Educating Maryland Kids, the coalition which successfully defended the Maryland DREAM Act at the ballot, the first ballot victory for in-state tuition equity in the country. Prior to that, she was Director of Communications Strategy at Faith in Public Life, working with religious groups to change the narrative and win on immigration, health care, economic inequality, and a range of other issues. She grew up in Springfield, Virginia, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in English and Political Science, and lives in Washington, D.C.
Celso Mireles (Online Strategy Coordinator)
Celso Mireles came to the U.S. at the age of 3, when his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona to start a new life away from the NAFTA-destroyed Mexican economy. Celso graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in 2009. Celso started his own company, Computer Dude Services LLC, after graduating from college, repairing computers and providing online consulting. Celso was a founding member of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition in 2009 and played an active role in the beginnings of the DRM Action Coalition. He helped lead online organizing around United We Dream’s Right to Dream campaign, which helped pave the way for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program announced by the White House in June 2012.
Mario Carrillo (Communications Manager)
Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Mario’s family migrated to El Paso, Texas when he was five. He spent his first three years in Texas as an undocumented immigrant before becoming a resident at age nine. He holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Texas at San Antonio and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where he spent time as a Legislative Intern at KUT, NPRs Austin affiliate, covering immigration during the state’s 82nd legislature.
Before United We Dream, Mario spent two years as a Peace Corps Youth Development Specialist in Costa Rica, living and working in a predominantly Nicaraguan immigrant site developing and facilitating capacity building projects for families of the community. He spent the last year in a public charter school in Washington, D.C. working with undocumented youth studying towards their GED while receiving vocational training.
Jassiel Perez (Online Organizer)
Originally from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, Jassiel Perez immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 2 months old. He lives in Lakeland, Florida and is part of United We Dream: Tampa Bay, a grassroots organization founded by undocumented immigrant youth in Florida. Jassiel started his own business, Florida New Media Solutions, LLC, which specializes in offering affordable graphic design and web development solutions to grassroots organizations and small businesses. He is dedicated to creating social change through online organizing and social media. In addition to his online organizing work with United We Dream, he has also worked with numerous organizations in Florida and across the U.S. including the Florida Immigrant Youth Network (FLIYN), Students Working For Equal Rights (SWER), The Hillsborough School Employees Federation (HSEF).
Jorge Gutierrez (Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP) Coordinator)
Jorge Gutierrez is originally from Nayarit, Mexico and currently resides in Los Angeles. Jorge began organizing and advocating for the rights of immigrant youth and LGBTQ communities in 2007 with the Orange County Dream Team. He co-founded DeColores Queer Orange County and has worked to highlight the importance of intersectional organizing between the LGBTQ and immigrant rights movements. The Huffington Post named Jorge one of the national LGBTQ Latino leaders to watch. He has also previously served on United We Dream’s Board of Directors and holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from California State University, Fullerton.
Carolina Canizales (END Our Pain (END) Coordinator)
Carolina graduated from the University of Texas- San Antonio in 2012 with a B.A. in Technical Communication and Highest Honors. She is an undocumented organizer and has lived in San Antonio, Texas since the age of 10. She was part of the founding team of the San Antonio Immigrant Youth Movement, which seeks to provide educational and legal resources, and guidance services to local community. Carolina leads UWD’s END program, helping stop the deportation of DREAMers and parents and fighting against the daily injustices of family separations.
Laura Bohorquez (DEEP Program Coordinator)
Laura M. Bohórquez García, a native from Mexico City moved to the U.S. at the age of 4 and was raised in Brewster, Washington a small rural agricultural town in Eastern Washington State. Growing up Bohórquez joined her parents in immigrant rights rallies, conferences and in the packing sheds and orchards where her community, family, and herself worked. Through her experiences Bohórquez saw and learned the needs of the immigrant youth in her community and so Bohórquez’s passion for social justice and educational equity lead her to Western Washington University (WWU) where she received a BA in American Cultural Studies and Spanish. At WWU Bohórquez co-created the Raza Latina Studies Minor, participated in M.E.Ch.A and in the Washington Dream Act Coalition as well as graduated as the “Outstanding Graduate” from the American Cultural Studies Department. Her commitment towards the educational equity for undocumented peoples encouraged her to pursue her Master’s in Education from Loyola University Chicago where she implemented a safe space and ally training as well as participated in committees that work to implement and change the policy and practices that serve Loyola Dreamers. Bohórquez currently dedicates her education to advocate for immigrant and educational rights for underrepresented and underserved communities.
Maria Fernanda Cabello (Organizer)
Maria Fernanda Cabello is an Organizer for the United We Dream Network. She was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, where she lived for 12 years until she moved to Houston, Texas. In 2009, she graduated fifth in her class from Nimitz High School and enrolled at Texas A&M University, where she studied Political Science. At Texas A&M, Maria joined the Council for Minority Student Affairs, going on to become president of the DREAM Act advocacy organization. She also received the “Student of the Year” award from the Hispanic Heritage Month Committee at Texas A&M. Maria previously served as coordinator for the Texas Dream Alliance and Campaign Manager for the “I am a DREAM Voter” campaign, the first-ever DREAMer-led civic engagement project.
Greisa Martinez (Organizer)
Reyna E. Originally from Hidalgo, Mexico, Greisa immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 2 months old. She began advocating for immigrant rights as a senior in high school, helping lead student walkouts in Dallas in 2006, organizing thousands of students around the immigration debate, and registering Latino youth voters. Greisa attended Texas A&M University where she double majored in Political Science and Economics; while at A&M she co-founded the Council for Minority Student Affairs, the first undocumented youth led student group in the conservative school’s 100-year history. She currently lives in Dallas where she is a part of the North Texas DREAM Team. Greisa cares deeply about the empowerment of our communities through civic engagement and community organizing.
Tim Eakins (Organizer)
Tim Eakins graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in 2001 with a degree in Hispanic Studies. After working in both farming and garden design in California, he began working with DREAMers and other immigrants as an interpreter in an immigration clinic in Connecticut. He helped push for the Dream Act in 2010 and became a full-time organizer in 2012 with United Action of Connecticut. That network, which is now called CIVIC (Connecticut Immigrant Voice Coalition), is an intergenerational network of parents and youth and was integral in the May 2013 passage of the Safe Driving Act, providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Through his work in Connecticut, Tim also organized immigration forums for thousand of people and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) clinics across the state. Tim works with United We Dream to build partnerships with undocumented parent groups across the country.
Juan Pablo Orjuela (Organizer)
Juan Pablo Orjuela came to the United States at the age of 3 from Colombia and grew up in New Jersey. He attended Bergen Community College, where he was a student organizer with the Student Government Association and the Latin American Student Association. After coming out as undocumented in an interview with Univision, he became involved with the student immigrant movement and the New Jersey Dream Act Coalition. He previously served as the END (Education Not Deportation) Coordinator for New Jersey and as a Mid-Atlantic representative to the United We Dream National Coordinating Committee.
Own The Dream Staff
- Nataly Castaño, National Field Support Consultant
- Mitzi Castro, Lead Organizer – Phoenix
- Jose Diaz, Lead Field Organizer – Miami
- Yadira Garcia, Lead Organizer – Phoenix
- Adam Luna, Director
- Myrna Orozco, National Field Manager
- Edwin Ramos, Field Organizer – Miami