Diana Valdivia was born in Baja California, Mexico. At the age of 13, Diana moved to the U.S. Since 2012, Diana has been involved with immigrant rights organizations through various ways including being part the San Diego Dream Team, organizing conferences for and with undocumented students pursuing grad school, organizing DACA clinics in San Diego County as a Own The Dream Organizer, and mostly recently being part of UWD DEEP Advisory Council. Diana holds a B.S. in Business Administration and a Master’s in Education/Student Affairs. As an undocumented immigrant she continues to be committed to the collective intersectional liberation of immigrants.
Jesus Cisneros is a naturalized citizen and queer Latino. He migrated to the U.S. from Chihuahua, Mexico at the age of 6 and has been involved in undocuqueer organizing efforts since 2012. As an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, Jesus brings his knowledge of higher education research and practice to highlight the intersection of education and immigration.
Born and raised in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Lucas Codognolla and his family immigrated to the United States in 2000 when he was 9 years old. Now 23, Lucas currently serves as lead coordinator of CT Students for a Dream, a statewide network of undocumented students and allies that seek to promote the rights of undocumented immigrants through community organizing, leadership development, and advocacy. Lucas has passionately dedicated his time in the fight for human rights and immigrants’ rights, being an activist and undocumented himself, has made one of his main goals to empower undocumented youth, having them realize that immigration status is not a barrier to achieve one’s fullest potential. Lucas is a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut and holds bachelor’s degree in political science.
Nicole is US Citizen and was raised in both liberal San Francisco, California and conservative Richmond, Virginia. The experiences of growing up in two dichotomous cities, with a multicultural ethnicity, while often living below the poverty level, has made Nicole acutely aware of racial, gender, ethnic, sexual and class identities in the United States. After earning an Accounting degree from Virginia Tech and becoming a licensed CPA, Nicole joined Make the Road New York as their Director of Finance & Human Resources and later served as their CFO. She is passionate about building power for working class communities and achieving dignity and justice for immigrants and other vulnerable members of society.
Stephanie Ji Won Park is an Immigrant Justice Corps Community Fellow at the MinKwon Center for Community Action in Flushing, New York. She receieved her B.A. in English, History, and Media at the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College and was inspired by her own experiences of being undocumented and by the immigrant community around her to join the fight for immigrant justice. At the MinKwon Center, she serves the Asian American undocumented community through direct legal services and oversees all of the DACA cases as a BIA Accredited Representative.
Stephanie is also an active member of MinKwon’s Asian American Dream Coalition (AADC), where she helped to develop its mission statement and monthly newsletter. As a core member of AADC, Stephanie works to empower other undocumented Asian American youth to speak out against inequities and realize the capacity of grass roots organizing. Through serving on the UWD Board, Stephanie hopes to continue the work of building an empowered immigrant youth network to become unafraid and unashamed, and organize towards immigrant justice
Organizer, strategist and dancer Gregory Cendana is President and Co-Founder of Can’t Stop! Won’t Stop!, a consulting firm of and for people of color. He was the first openly gay and youngest-ever Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and Institute for Asian Pacific American Leadership & Advancement. Gregory is also the immediate past Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, co-founder of the diversity initiative Inclusv, and serves on the board of directors for United We Dream and 18 Million Rising. Gregory has been named one of Washington DC’s most influential 40-and-under young leaders, one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30, DC’s Inaugural Power 30 Under 30™ Award Recipients & the “Future of DC Politics”. Follow him on Twitter & Instagram: @GregoryCendana
Isaac was born and raised in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. Him and his family moved to the U.S. in 2005 when he was 14 years old. Now at 26 years old he serves and leads as the Social Media and Communications Manager for the NM Dream Team, a statewide network of undocumented students and allies that seeks to advance the rights of undocumented immigrants through community organizing, leadership development, and advocacy. Isaac has spent much of his time uplifting the stories of his community through his communications work and as a small documentary maker. Being a single father to a 3 year old daughter, he now understands first-hand the need to continue fighting for social and racial justice at an intergenerational level. Isaac is currently finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communications.
Sussan is a naturalized citizen who immigrated to New Jersey from South Korea when she was 9 years old. She is an immigration staff attorney at Queens Law Associates, a public defender’s office in Queens, NY. Through her work as an immigration attorney, Sussan hopes to advocate for not only the protection but the expansion of rights of the immigrant community.
I was born in Mexico City and immigrated to Houston with my parents when I was two years old. I’m a 2015 graduate of the Bauer College of Business and the Honors College at the University of Houston (UH). I’m a second-year law student at the University of Houston Law Center and will be the first person in my family to pursue a graduate degree. I’ve worked on immigration issues throughout my college career, being an intern at the UHLC’s Immigration Clinic since 2013, organizing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Clinics on campus, and mentoring undocumented youth in Houston. At UH, I was the President of the Youth Empowerment Alliance (an organization for undocumented students) and Chairperson of the Mexican American Studies Student Organization. During the 84th Texas Legislature, I was the statewide coordinator of the Texas Tuition Equity Campaign, which successfully protected in-state tuition and state financial for undocumented students in Texas. At my 2016 summer internship at MALDEF, I was the Family Detention Clerk, and I also worked on state immigration issues. I’m passionate about both providing quality legal assistance to our immigrant community and empowering fellow undocumented folks to take action on social justice issues.
M. Teresa Mabry is a Queer Black Xican@ from Guadalupe, AZ. She is an organizer, collaborator, and visionary that holds complexity moving in direct community organizing practices. Teresa believes that empowering young leaders is instrumental to our movements’ success and survival. Building community power is the only way we can call to question current affairs and breathe life into what it would mean to thrive.
Roksana Mun was born in Bangladesh and migrated to NYC in 1991 and grew up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Jackson Heights, Queens. Her mother is a domestic worker and her father was a street vendor and is now a taxi driver. Growing up working-class has shaped a large part of who Roksana is as an organizer and her commitment of immigrant, worker and racial justice. Roksana joined as a youth member of DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) in 2003, through their Summer Organizing Institute. She became a member because of the Islamophobia at school and losing family members who were deported due to Special Registration, a post-9/11 program which required 80,000 non-citizens from Muslim countries to register with ICE and DHS and deported 13,000 people.
Roksana was the Youth Organizer of DRUM from 2008-2009. From 2009-2011, she was a Legal Advocate at the Urban Justice Center for welfare advocacy for low-income/no-income New Yorkers. Roksana rejoined DRUM in April 2011 as the Dignity in School Campaign Organizer to focus on local and national policies to end the School-to-Prison Pipeline and the criminalization of youth of color. Roksana is currently the Director of Strategy and Training at DRUM. She oversees the development and progress of the Racial, Immigrant and Education Justice campaigns across both youth and adult memberships.
Adrian Reyna leads United We Dream’s groundbreaking technology, digital engagement and communications strategies. Under his leadership, the network has created new technology to help low income community organizers provide service and empowerment opportunities to immigrant youth and families, and has catapulted the digital presence of United We Dream – tripling the size of UWD’s online community.
Born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Adrian came to the U.S. with his parents at the age of 12 and grew up undocumented in Humble, TX, outside of Houston. In college, Adrian “came out” as undocumented and queer and has dedicated his life to helping others live as their full and authentic selves. Adrian now directs one of United We Dream’s largest staff teams where he brings his vision of a connected and vibrant network of formerly isolated and disempowered people into reality every day.
Cristina Jiménez is Executive Director and Co-founder of United We Dream (UWD), the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country.
Growing up, Cristina always knew she was undocumented.
Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Cristina came to the United States at age 13. Her parents risked everything and fled poverty to give her family a better life here.
She grew up in Queens, New York, a place she still proudly calls home.
As an undocumented young person, Cristina and her family experienced poverty, abuse by police, wage theft from employers and fear of deportation.
From a young age, Cristina made a decision to fight back against unjust practices that plagued people of color and the immigrant community.
While in college, Cristina began organizing with other students. That’s when she found her voice, and realized immigrant youth have the power to transform this country by telling their own stories and developing their own political strategy.
Cristina’s work has helped change the national conversation on immigration and create a new youth-led model of social justice organizing and movement building.
Cristina was instrumental in organizing the successful national campaign that led to the creation and implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program (DACA) under President Obama. DACA is the most far-reaching and significant victory for immigrant communities in more than thirty years, and has enabled nearly a million immigrants to live without constant fear of deportation, go to school, pursue careers, and build stable lives here.
Under Cristina’s leadership, UWD has grown to a powerful network of 48 affiliates in 26 states and over 400,000 members.
The organization has supported and trained tens of thousands of immigrant youth leaders to find and express their voice, and inspired millions.
Ultimately, Cristina wants to transform the politics of the United States so that all people can thrive in this country and live without fear.
In October 2017, Cristina was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, also known as a “genius grant,” one of the highest and most prestigious honors that creative leaders can receive in the United States.
Cristina has received several other high-profile awards and honors while leading UWD. In 2014, she was named to Forbes’s “30 under 30 in Law and Policy;” She has also been named one of “40 under 40 Young Leaders Who are Solving Problems of Today and Tomorrow” by the Chronicle of Philanthropy; and one of “50 Fearless Women” by Cosmopolitan.
Prior to work at UWD, Cristina co-founded the New York State Youth Leadership Council, and the Dream Mentorship Program at Queens College. She also worked as an immigration policy analyst for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and an immigrant rights organizer at Make the Road New York.
Cristina holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and Public Policy 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.
Cristina invites all people of conscience to join her and United We Dream in our youth-driven fight to pass a clean Dream Act and stop deportations. Text HereToStay to 877-877 to learn more!
Juanita Monsalve is a social justice digital strategist working to advance the rights of immigrants and people of color. As United We Dream’s Director of Digital, Juanita is committed to using her skills to empower new young immigrant leaders, fight anti-Blackness, and practice transformational organizing. Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Juanita moved to Orlando, Florida when she was just starting high school. Later, she attended Williams College, where she received a degree in Philosophy and Art History, with a concentration in Africana Studies.
Prior to joining United We Dream, Juanita was the Digital Director for Reform Immigration FOR America (RI4A), a digital advocacy campaign fighting for immigrant rights and comprehensive immigration reform at the Center for Community Change. She serves on the Board of Directors at the DC-Based immigrant and worker organizing group Many Languages One Voice (MLOV). Juanita is passionate about using media such as film and music to organize our communities. Most recently, Juanita co-hosted Choices & Chismes, a podcast for real talk and for engaging Latinx youth in the 2016 election.
Julieta Garibay is the Campaigns Director and Co-Founder of United We Dream – the largest immigrant youth led network in the country. In this capacity, she serves as UWD’s chief strategist.
Garibay began organizing in her hometown of Austin, TX in 2005 to help undocumented youth like her get to college and has since become a fearless defender of her community and advocate for the rights of women. Julieta is the living embodiment of the United We Dream spirit – transforming personal adversity into personal power and hope that has inspired thousands into action.
Julieta has been featured as a leading voice in the immigration movement and has been featured on many of the nation’s top outlets like Univision, CNN, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, NPR, Telemundo, among others.
Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Garibay migrated to the U.S. at the age of 12 and lived in Texas for 20 years before moving to Washington, D.C. 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. She holds a Master’s degree of Science in Public Health Nursing and a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Texas.