UCLA Labor Center

Meet Dream Summer 2019 fellow Paulina Ruiz

The UCLA Dream Resource Center (DRC) finalized their selection of fellows for the 2019 Dream Summer fellowship and will be kicking off the fellowship from June 20th to June 22nd! The next generation of immigrant youth social justice leaders will be joining the DRC for a three day kick-off filled with leadership and professional development workshops and on-the-ground experience in social justice movement building.

Forty-two amazing fellows were selected this year for the 2019 Dream Summer fellowship! Meet Paulina Ruiz, a finalist who the DRC wants to highlight because of her continued work in the immigrant rights movement and a returning Dream Summer fellow! Paulina graduated from Dream Summer 2018 but will be joining the DRC for Dream Summer 2019 to continue developing her skills!

Paulina Ruiz


Paulina Ruiz was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and arrived to the United States at the age of six. Since then, she has resided in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a B.A. in Spanish Literature and a minor in Mexican Studies. After graduating, Paulina decided to utilize her language skills to aid and defend the immigrant community. As an immigrant rights activist with a disability, Paulina’s biggest goal is to bring out of the shadows more marginalized people like herself. She firmly believes it is not only important to bring more people like herself out of the shadows but to also strengthen intersectionality in the immigrant rights movement, by teaching individuals how to effectively organize for the immigrant differently-abled community.

Paulina leading a workshop entitled “Activism: Ableism and the Immigrant Movement” during Dream Summer 2018.

Paulina provides workshops, to organizations and individuals involved in the immigrant rights movement, that teach how to make and take space with people of different abilities. In her workshops, she explains key barriers that people with disabilities and an immigrant background may face such as lack of access to adequate healthcare, employment opportunities and education. Alongside this work, she also mentors individuals with disabilities on how to fight social norms that limit the space they hold in society. Although the barriers to equality for both immigrants and people with disabilities are huge—and maintaining a space in the immigrant rights movement is tough for people with disabilities—Paulina seeks to put a face to the millions of people in her situation who are still in the shadows. She wants to live to see a world where people with disabilities and immigrants are respected and have the opportunity to hold positions of authority that can lead to positive social change for both groups.

Paulina at the 2018 Dream Summer closing retreat.

Why the Dream Summer fellowship?

Paulina decided to apply to Dream Summer again because it is an innovative fellowship and a stepping stone in the immigrant rights movement that holds space for people with different abilities. She has seen firsthand how welcoming the mentors at Dream Summer are and how willing they are to accommodate people with disabilities. Paulina knows that Dream Summer can open many doors, since the program helps fellows build their skills by placing them in social justice organizations across the U.S. She is sure Dream Summer will open more unimaginable opportunities for her and other immigrant rights advocates. She wants to encourage others to take a leap of faith and seek this opportunity—like she did—because it is life changing.

Learn more about Dream Summer here.


2019 Immigrant Justice Fellowship Kick-Off


In February 2019, the Dream Resource Center (DRC) kicked off the second year of the Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF), our California-wide rapid-response fellowship for immigrant youth! During the kick-off, fellows gathered to build community, participate in trainings, and prepare for the rapid-response work they are now leading for the next seven months across the state of California. This year, the DRC partnered with the following fellows and organizations:



Fellow: Adanna Ilori

Organization: Sacramento Immigration Coalition

Region: Sacramento





Fellow: Brenda Gutierrez Ramirez

Organization: Resilience OC

Region: Orange County





Fellow: Kristina Olea

Organization: Faith in the Valley (Kern County)

Region: Central Valley





Fellow: Mario Perez

Organization: Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice

Region: Inland Empire




Fellow: Mayra Pelagio

Organization: Santa Clara Rapid Response Network

Region: Silicon Valley




Fellow: Maythe Alderete Gonzalez

Organization: Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition

Region: Los Angeles




Learn more about our 2019 Immigrant Justice Fellows.

Here’s a look at five highlights from the kick-off:

1) The DRC led a plenary titled, “From the Frontlines: Lessons Learned from Rapid Response.” The plenary engaged DRC partners and IJF alumni in a powerful discussion regarding rapid-response work in California, such as the current landscape, best practices and strategies, and reflections from grassroots organizers.

Plenary participants:

  • Vanessa Alderete, Deputy Director of Constituent Services for U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (Left)
  • Jennaya Dunlap, Deportation Defense Coordinator for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (Middle)
  • Ana Ramirez, OC Rapid Response Coordinator for Resilience OC & IJF Alumna (Right)


2) The fellows participated in the 23rd Annual UCLA Health Care Symposium, “Immigration & Health: Status, Access, and Bridging the Disparity.” The symposium explored the intersection of immigration and the healthcare system and how to improve access to healthcare for immigrants. Watch the video below for what the fellows learned about immigration and health!


3) UCLA alumna and immigrant rights leader Yadira Hernandez led an interactive deportation defense training for the fellows. The training was grounded in her own successful campaign to get her father released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after he was detained for a traffic violation in Nevada.

Yadira midway through her deportation defense training!

Yadira speaking to the fellows about her father’s detainment.


4) The DRC engaged experts in the immigrant rights field in order to discuss California immigration policies as well as provide skill-based trainings on communications, storytelling, public speaking, self-care, and community wellness.

Fellows engaged during a communications training.


5) Throughout the kick-off, the fellows engaged in conversations with one another on how to take what they learned back to their communities. The fellows plan to share resources with one another and develop community presentations throughout the fellowship.

Mayra Pelagio and Adanna Ilori discussing what they learned.


Learn more about the Immigrant Justice Fellowship!


Meet The 2019 Immigrant Justice Fellows

We are excited to announce that the 2019 Immigrant Justice fellows have been selected. Learn about them below:

Adanna Ilori


Placed at Sacramento Immigration Coalition


Adanna Ilori was born in Lagos, Nigeria and has lived in Northern California since she was ten years old. She is currently a double major in Design and Managerial Economics at UC Davis. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of the LGBTQIA community and undocumented immigrant community. At UC Davis, she interned for the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center on campus to ensure that undocumented students had the resources they needed to succeed. She educated students on policies; contributed to the center’s web page; and outreached to middle schools, staff, and faculty regarding federal, state and local immigration policies. Since high school, Adanna has advocated for the rights of the LGBTQIA community such as by providing resources to and working as a caregiver for Black LGBT elders.

Why the Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF)?

Adanna applied to the Immigrant Justice Fellowship because as an immigrant she knows firsthand the unique challenges immigrants face in getting internships, securing jobs and overall attaining a better quality of life. She wants to give back to the undocumented immigrant community and help represent their voices.

Personal hobbies and interests

Adanna’s personal interests and hobbies include fashion design and photography. She has advocated for the African American community by designing clothes inspired by African culture. Her garment designs have been featured in fashion shows and shown the fashion industry the intrinsic beauty of Africa and its people.

Brenda Gutierrez Ramirez


Placed at Resilience OC


Brenda Gutierrez Ramirez was born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico and has lived in Anaheim, California for 15 years. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Anthropology and minored in Film and Digital Media. Brenda is passionate about grassroots organizing for social justice. She was a member of MEChA de UCSC for three years, where she learned and practiced student agency and student organizing. MEChA de UCSC taught her about social justice and enabled her to get out of her comfort zone.

Why the Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF)?

Brenda applied to the Immigrant Justice Fellowship to improve her skills as a grassroots organizer and to help out her community. For Brenda, IJF represents an opportunity to engage with individuals that have a similar background as her. Being around folks with similar backgrounds, empowers and encourages her to continue with her social justice work.

Personal hobbies and interests

Brenda loves spending time with her family and dog. Watching movies and funny shows are her favorite pastime. She also enjoys visiting natural places with her friends.

Kristina Olea


Placed at Faith in the Valley (Kern County)


Kristina Olea was born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico and came to the United States at two years of age. The youngest of 11 children, she was the first one in her family to graduate from college. She graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and an emphasis in Economics from the California State University, Fresno. She is currently an immigration and criminal case manager and loves every second of it. Her professional goal is to attend law school and eventually open up her own business.

Why the Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF)?

Kristina applied to the Immigrant Justice Fellowship because she is passionate about labor rights. She specifically wants to make a difference in agricultural labor laws. As a resident of the Central Valley, California’s single most productive agricultural region, Kristina understands the lack of resources and protections agricultural laborers have.

Personal hobbies and interests

Kristina enjoys baking. She is a self-taught baker, but thanks to YouTube she has gained a lot of baking techniques.

Mario Perez


Placed at Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice


Mario Perez was born in the capital of Mexico known as Mexico City. He arrived to the United States when he was five years of age. As a person directly impacted by the current state of the U.S. immigration system, Mario is passionate about shining a different light on the issues that face the immigrant community. His current goal is to pursue a career in journalism to cover immigration issues. His ultimate goal is to become more involved in the immigrant community by providing the support they need to gain justice.

Why the Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF)?

Mario applied to the Immigrant Justice Fellowship to become more involved in the immigrant rights movement and to further develop his leadership skills as an organizer. Through the program, he hopes to learn how to effectively fight for the rights of immigrants and become a voice for the immigrant community, so that they are no longer excluded from decisions that directly impact them.

Personal hobbies and interests

Mario enjoys the arts, fashion, music, and visiting museums.

Mayra Pelagio


Placed at Santa Clara Rapid Response Network


Mayra Pelagio and her family moved to the United States in 2009 from León, Guanajuato, Mexico. She graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management (ESM) and minored in Wildlife, Fish, Conservation Biology. Throughout her undergraduate career, she worked on programs that served the undocumented immigrant and low-income student community. One of her biggest accomplishments was establishing the BikEmpower program, which is structured around sustainability, empowerment and community building. In the program, students are taught bicycle repairing skills which they use to repair a refurbished bicycle they are given by the school. After graduating from UC Davis, Mayra advocated for the passing of the federal DREAM Act in Washington D.C with members of congress. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in environmental studies at San Jose State University.

Why the Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF)?

Mayra applied to the Immigrant Justice Fellowship because she wants to expand the resources that were available to her, as a high school student, to the broader immigrant community.

Personal hobbies and interests

Mayra loves hiking, camping, and bird watching.

Maythe Alderete Gonzalez


Placed at Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition


Maythe Alderete Gonzalez was born in Cuautla, Morelos, Mexico. She arrived to the United States at the age of two and has lived in Long Beach ever since. She is currently pursuing her B.A. in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies and a minor in Human Development at California State University, Long Beach. Maythe is actively involved in creating a safe space for undocumented immigrants by sitting as an active board member for student organizations such as For Undocumented Empowered Leaders (FUEL) and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Student Association (WGSSSA).

Why the Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF)?

Maythe applied to the Immigrant Justice Fellowship to enhance her professional, networking, cultural competency, and ethical decision making skills. Through the Immigrant Justice Fellowship, she hopes to discover her personal, academic, and career goals.

Personal hobbies and interests

Sewing and photography have become Maythe’s two biggest hobbies to express her creativity through. She began a project named “Undocu Journey” in which she photographs undocumented immigrants and asks: who are you outside of this undocumented identity? The purpose of the project is to provide viewers a different perspective of each photographed individual, as a means to end the dehumanization of undocumented immigrants.

Learn more about the Immigrant Justice Fellowship


UndocuStories: Journeys of Justice & Freedom


UndocuStories: Journeys of Justice & Freedom is the culmination of an eight week theater workshop by members of the undocumented immigrant community and allies. This evening of original theater, sketches, movement and poetry will showcase the incredible power of the immigrant community! Over the course of eight weeks, immigrants and allies delved into the issues impacting the immigrant community to create this original visionary piece. Grounded in community, and utilizing comedy and theatre of the oppressed, this performance shifts the dominant narrative of the undocumented community.

Join us for a night of laughter, reflection, and power! Translation for the performance is available in Korean, Tagalog and Spanish. Please request translation ahead of time. The doors will open at 6:30 pm for guests.

This project was made possible by a generous Artist-in-Residence grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. The workshop was facilitated by artist and comedian Kristina Wong, with guest artist Jessica Emmanuel, and hosted by the Dream Resource Center. Contributing guests speakers at the workshop include: Yael Pineda, Betty Jaspeado, and Mario Escobar. Participants starring in the performance include: Ghislaine Dwarka, Ana Lujan, Aldair Arriola Gomez, Ayala Gray, Georgina Rios Escobar, and Gustavo A. Guerra Vasquez.

Date & Time: November 8th | 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location: UCLA Labor Center, 675 S. Park View St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Contact: dreamresourcecenter@gmail.com




Immigration Forum: Students Speak Out!



Students at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) will host a forum, Immigration Forum: Students Speak Out!  to discuss recent policy developments, share personal narratives, and present recommendations as to how to how to support the immigrant in the months ahead. The Forum will be hosted on Monday, March 5th, the date the Trump administration had set a deadline for Congress to enact policy that would impact thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

Join students and guest speakers for a conversation on immigration. Some of the topics that will be discussed are: common misconceptions regarding undocumented migration, contextualize DACA in a broader conversation on the factors that contribute to migration, and students will have opportunities to discuss the effects of recent legislative and policy issues, and make policy recommendations on how to best support the undocumented community. A student-led Resource Fair will also take place after the forum from 6:30pm-7:30pm.

The forum is being coordinated under the guidance of Ignacia Rodriguez, immigration attorney and policy advocate at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and in collaboration with the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) department and the Dream Resource Center (DRC).



Guest Speakers:

Abel Valenzuela • Professor of Chicana/o Studies and Urban Planning, and Director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
Kent Wong • UCLA Labor Center Director

Gilbert Cedillo • Los Angeles City Council member, First District
Maria Elena Durazo • Democratic National Committee (DNC) Vice-Chair incumbent, UNITE HERE General Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights and Diversity, currently running for California State Senator in the 24th District
Monica Garcia • Representative of Board District 2 in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)
Ernesto Rocha • community organizer and Membership Coordinator at Community Coalition

Performances by:

Grupo Folklorico de UCLA • a dance group that focuses on the regional and traditional dances of Mexico
Night of Cultura at UCLA • a Latinx performance group



RSVP at: UndocumentedUnafraid.net/rsvp
Questions?: Info@UndocumentedUnafraid.net

Meet The Immigrant Justice Fellows

Ana Ramirez Zarate

Orange County

Resilience OC

Ana Ramirez Zarate graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor degree in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies. During her undergraduate career she was part of PATHS for US, a student project funded by the Bruin Excellence & Student Transformation Grant program (BEST) that focuses on the retention of undocumented students at UCLA. Ana began her undergrad at Fullerton Community College where she met a supportive undocumented student community that inspired her to continue her education journey and become a femtor to other undocumented students. She currently works as program coordinator for the Bruin Excellence & Student Transformation Grant Program (BEST) at UCLA which is a student-led initiative that fosters social justice leadership among campus activist.


 Saira Murillo

Inland Empire

Inland Coalition For Immigrant Justice (ICIJ)

Saira Murillo migrated to the U.S. at the age of 8 and has lived in the Inland Empire (IE) ever since. Growing up in the IE, Saira witnessed a lack of support for undocumented youth and their families; such as limited access to preventive care, resources for undocumented students, and local law enforcement collaboration with I.C.E. Now at the age of 24, Saira has been actively involved for almost five years in creating a space for undocumented youth where they can have the tools to self-advocate to live unafraid and unapologetic, especially in this crucial time where immigrant youth need to continue leading and shaping their own narratives. Saira hopes to continue contributing for a sustainable movement in the Inland Empire and she knows that by participating in the Immigrant Justice Fellowship it will be possible.


Sandra Morales


Sacramento Immigration Coalition

Sandra Morales was born in Juayua, El Salvador and immigrated to the United States at 2-years of age. Sandra is the only sibling of six that’s undocumented, and this causes insecurity among her family. She’s been a TPS beneficiary since the age of 10, and she now finds herself in a limbo with her immigration status. Sandra currently attends Sacramento City College as a Sociology major, and she hopes to have a career that focuses on education and law. Her biggest motivation and what keeps me wanting to fight for immigrant rights is the older generation of immigrants that paved the way for youth and are too afraid to speak out for their rights because they fear retaliation.


Rubi Salazar

San Mateo County

Youth Leadership Institute

Rubi Salazar is a full time student at College of San Mateo where she plans to transfer to UC Santa Cruz to study Marine Biology. She currently sits on the executive board of the San Mateo Youth Commission for the second year, and is the chair of the immigration justice committee for the San Mateo Youth Commission where she guides the committee on immigrated related issues, especially affecting youth. Rubi has previously worked closely with Half Moon Bay City Council to help Half Moon Bay become a sanctuary city for immigrants. She helped reduce alcoholic beverage sings in Half Moon Bay corner stores along side the Coast side Youth Council were she attended the group for three years. Rubi has worked at Hassett Ace Hardware in the Garden department where she helped order plants, product, meet with vendors, and helped customers.


Yael Pineda

Los Angeles

Working for Justice, Dignity, and Respect (KIWA)

Yael Pineda was born in the state of Morelos, Mexico. In 1999, at the age of four, she crossed the United States border alongside her parents, due to the lack economic opportunities her family faced while in Mexico. Yael’s parents sacrificed their lives, as many do day by day, crossing the dangerous and vast desert that masks the border between Mexico and the United States. She grew up in La Puente, California, where she believed that after high school, college was not an option due to her immigration status. Since 2003, Yael participated in different protests and rallies, her parents fostered a passion for immigrant and worker justice. In September of 2017, Yael received her degree in Psychology and Labor and Workplace Studies from UCLA.


Yenedit Valencia

Central Valley

UFW Foundation

Yenedit Valencia was born in Ayoquezco de Aldama, Oaxaca. She arrived to the United States at the age of 8. She is pursuing her B.A. degree at California State University, Fresno. She will be graduating in May with her B.A. in Sociology and with the Humanics certificate which is a certificate program in administration and leadership for community benefit organizations. Yenedit currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Central California Legal Services and co-directs Xiadani del Valle a traditional Oaxaqueño dance group.

Dream Summer Labor Cohort Video



The Dream Summer Labor Cohort video highlights immigrant youth that were placed at key labor organizations during their Dream Summer fellowship in order to further a vision of an intersectional labor movement that sees worker rights as immigrant rights. The cohort’s mission is to help build the next generation of labor movement leaders and allies by providing them with the training that makes use of lived experiences and expertise in labor. The cohort is part of a series of cohorts that take on different aspects that affect the immigrant community.

As the Dream Resource Center, we’re proud to say that for eight years the Dream Summer fellowship continues to build the next generation of immigrant rights leaders through professional and leadership development, the creation of safe and healing spaces, and utilization of an intersectional, intergenerational and cross-racial framework to address issues impacting immigrant communities.

Join us in uplifting the next generation of Immigrant youth that continue to be at the frontlines of justice for our immigrant communities. Please help us share the fellow and host organization applications, and don’t forget to view our latest video the 2017 Dream Summer Video!

2017 Dream Summer Video


For eight years, Dream Summer continues to build the next generation of immigrant rights leaders through leadership development, the creation of safe and healing spaces, and utilization of an intersectional, intergenerational and cross-racial framework to address issues impacting immigrant communities. Here’s a short video that speaks to what Dream Summer is all about. If you want to be part of the generation of Immigrant youth that continue to be at the frontlines of justice for our immigrant communities, join Dream Summer this year.

Apply to the Dream Summer fellowship! 

LGBTQ Organizations Urge Federal Legislators to Pass the DREAM ACT


Today several local organization joined forces to support for LGBTQ immigrant youth under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. During a press conference at Mi Centro, organizations demanded Congress to pass the DREAM Act. This proposed legislation would prevent immigrant youth and LGBTQ undocumented young people from being deported to countries where their lives may be endangered due to homophobia and transphobia.

Among the organizations that organized the press conference where: The Los Angeles LGBT CenterEquality California (EQCA), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Centerlink, Latino Equality Alliance (LEA), Dream Resource Center, and LGBT Center OC.

According to the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles, there are more than
75,000 undocumented immigrants who identify as LGBTQ—with nearly half of them actively participating in the now phaseout DACA program. While a large percentage of LGBTQ undocumented youth (28%) live in California, the DREAM Act of 2017 must be passed protect all LGBTQ youth living throughout the country.

“In this critical moment in time, it is essential for LGBTQ leaders and community members to come out in support and organize for the passage of the federal DREAM Act,” said Dream Resource Center Interim Director Diego Sepulveda. “Undocumented youth have led national campaigns to fight the detention and deportation of our immigrant communities, and without a permanent solution, they will live under the constant fear of being separated from their families, friends, and colleagues. We must stand together to do what is right and just. We must pass the DREAM Act.”

UCLA Tech Talk: How Immigration Drives Innovation in Tech

Photo Credit: UCLA Tech+Innovation


On November 30th the UCLA Tech+Innovation, UCLA’s hub for innovation hosted the UCLA Tech Talk on how immigration drives innovation in the tech sector at the L.A. Cleantech Incubator in Downtown. Guest speakers included: UCLA Labor Center’s Director, Kent Wong and Dream Summer Alumnus, Justino Mora, Co-Founder of UndocuMedia, and Sandra Shelly, Organizing Director of FWD.us, the advocacy group launched by Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley leaders.

Partners: Dream Resource Center, FWD.us, UndocuMedia, UCLA Advocacy.