For Immediate Release
Contact: Sheridan Aguirre | firstname.lastname@example.org | 202.793.2267
Washington, D.C. – United We Dream is closing out the graduation season by celebrating the hard work and accomplishments of our 2019 UndocuGrads! Despite the flurry of attacks by Trump’s administration and all of the obstacles they have faced at institutions not made for undocumented people and people of color, these students prevailed and excelled.
You can see more photos and stories by searching #UndocuGrad on Twitter and Instagram.
Deya Aldana, Coordinator for United We Dream’s Education Justice Program, said:
“We are so proud of all undocumented graduates this year and always. Our families and whole communities prosper when one of our own excels in their chosen path. I hope our graduates inspire those who are still making their way through the long, expensive, and stressful process of attending higher education as an undocumented person. Throughout this work, there’s one thing our grads always say: ‘I wouldn’t be here without my community.’”
United We Dream’s Education Justice Program supports immigrant students, along with their educators and faculty, in creating equitable and resourced campuses to help immigrant students prosper. You can find more information about one of the program’s initiatives here.
Congratulations to our graduates! Below are three profiles of UndocuGrads in United We Dream’s network of youth leaders.
Daysi Bedolla Sotelo lives in Woodburn, Oregon. She is a first generation student who is undocumented and a DACA recipient. Throughout her university career she’s faced many obstacles, but also immense support from her peers, teachers, community and family. She is graduating with a dual major from Eastern Oregon University: a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies with concentrations in Chemistry and Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology with a concentration in Social Welfare. She plans to pursue a Masters in Public Health Policy and Health Management to advocate for communities who are underserved and underrepresented. She hopes to continue working with her community to empower them to fight for their dignity and in the future she hopes to attend Medical School to become a bilingual doctor and may one day run for public office.
Karen Pérez-Wilson migrated to the United States when she was 3-years-old with her mother in search of a prosperous life. This year, Karen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Legal Studies and Chicanx Latinx Studies. Karen is the oldest child and the first one in her family to obtain a high school diploma and also the first to complete a post-secondary degree at Madison College. Throughout her time in school she took part in numerous campus and community initiatives in support of LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities. Throughout late 2017 and early 2018 she was an active leader in the national Dream Act campaign. Karen is preparing to apply to law school in hopes of becoming an immigration attorney.
Alejandro Campos migrated to the United States at the age of 8. When he graduated high school, he was offered a scholarship to play sports at Taft College. Although he was excited to start his college experience, he soon realized that moving to the dorms, paying tuition fees, and other college-related expenses exceeded his limited scholarship funds. Unable to secure federal financial aid due to his immigration status, he was led to drop-out of college and move back to Long Beach. He had a daughter and worked for more than seven years to provide for his family, while also saving enough money to return to school. When DACA was announced, he enrolled in Long Beach City College. Alejandro began getting involved in various leadership positions to promote and support educational attainment of underrepresented communities and advocated for cultural awareness and social justice across campus. He then transferred to California State University – Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) where he continued his commitment to serving the community. He is a recipient of several scholarships: the Toro Distinguished Award, Latino Faculty Association Scholarship, Rocio Scholarship, Office of Student Life Service Medal for Presidential Accomplishments, and he is also on the Dean’s Honor List. Alejandro joined United We Dream to represent his school and community, advocating for incarcerated, discriminated, and separated families in our nation.
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states. UWD’s vision is to build a multi-racial, multi-ethnic movement of young people who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States.