Santa Fe, NM – Elizabeth “Eli” Cuna has been named the new Field Director of United We Dream, the nation’s largest immigrant youth network with 55 local affiliate groups across 26 states, over 120,000 members and an online reach of millions.
“Eli’s unique set of experiences in multi-racial organizing, together with her skills as a trainer and track record of building youth-led grassroots organizations make her uniquely suited to help immigrant youth win victories for our communities and realize our 2020 Vision. I’m so proud to welcome another powerful immigrant woman to our national team,” said United We Dream Co-founder and Director Cristina Jimenez.
Young leaders of the United We Dream Network carried out an 18 month long strategic planning process to develop their 2020 Vision which lays out ambitious goals for a multi-racial movement of young immigrants fighting for justice and dignity for all people of color, helping local immigrant youth groups grow in capacity and power and training leaders.
Eli Cuna added, “I am humbled and excited to take on this new role. As an undocumented, brown youth from a small town in New Mexico, I never dreamed that I would have been given the opportunities to turn my own struggles and victories into experiences that can help others. I’m all about building serious people power that is driven from the heart. I can’t wait to start working with and learning from United We Dream’s amazing organizers to keep our movement thriving and growing!”
Learn more about Eli and her experiences below:
Elizabeth ‘Eli’ Cuna, United We Dream Field Director — Biography
Eli Cuna is a community organizer and movement builder from New Mexico. She came to the U.S. at age 14 with one of her siblings and reunited with her parents and the rest of her siblings at age of 16. Eli is proud of her story as an undocumented young womxn of color who was raised by hardworking migrant workers. Eli came out as undocumented and joined the immigrant youth movement in 2004 when she participated in her first class walk out at Capital High School in Santa Fe to voice the need for access to college education for undocumented youth in New Mexico.
Eli’s organizing practice is rooted in racial justice, intersectionality and indigenous epistemology. She has organized in rural communities and developed curricula to engage her community in the necessary work of undoing racism and fighting for environmental and economic justice. She also served as a racial justice community project manager at the Community Engagement Center at the University of New Mexico and was an ethnographic research associate at the Center for Study of Urban Poverty at UCLA.
Eli co-built a statewide network of immigrant youth in New Mexico and has strengthened the organizing and advocacy infrastructure in the state by creating initiatives like: UndocuHealing, UndocuResearch, The (Un)documented Story Project, and NM DREAMZone. Eli is a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Civic Policy and holds two B.A. degrees and a M.P.A from the University of New Mexico.
Eli’s search for justice comes from her journey of learning from the elders in her tribe & community and is proud to share the wisdom of those elders and her experience with United We Dream as the network embarks on a multi-racial, intersectional strategy to bring justice and dignity to people’s lives.