UCLA Labor Center

Meet Christine Nabung, 2020 Dream Summer Graduate

Placed at SEIU 721 for Dream Summer 2020.

Biography

Christine Nabung was born in the Philippines. When she was five years of age, her family immigrated to Los Angeles, California. While growing up in the United States, Christine knew that she was an undocumented immigrant, but it wasn’t until high school that she felt the weight of her immigration status. As Christine navigated the college application process, she experienced various barriers and obstacles due to her immigration status. It was also during this critical time, in her youth, that her father was deported. Christine’s family was torn apart and life would never be the same for them.

Despite these unjust and traumatic events, Christine is determined to pursue higher education. In December of 2017, she was chosen as a Posse scholar to attend Middlebury College in rural Vermont. Christine is currently working towards a B.A. in Environmental Justice and a minor in Education Studies. She is also heavily involved on campus by providing support to first-generation students and hosting monthly open mics.

Christine’s experiences sparked her passion for helping others and her desire to prioritize social equity in the work she engages with. She believes that there are multiple ways to solve social justice issues and enjoys creative problem solving. Her favorite creative problem-solving method is storytelling because she believes personal anecdotes are powerful, inspire change, and empower underrepresented communities.

We asked Christine: What was your experience with the Dream Summer fellowship like? 

“Through the Dream Summer fellowship, I had the opportunity to work with SEIU 721. My first project at SEIU 721 was to help drivers, in the gig economy, fight for their rights. In collaboration with the Mobile Workers Alliance (MWA), SEIU 721 led a campaign that challenged the gig economy by demanding for the recognition of workers’ rights and the improvement of working conditions for drivers.

I, along with a team of 9 people, made daily calls to drivers who work for companies like Lyft, Uber, and Instacart. We listened to their experiences, provided them with information, and mobilized them for major actions and events. From June 25th to the 26th, I attended MWA’s conference, a global meeting where drivers from all over the world discussed the rights of gig workers and shared resources. At the conference, I learned about the different processes workers go through to create a union and how to continue making progress through the COVID-19 pandemic.

On July 20th, SEIU 721 joined a national one-day strike led by janitors, nurses, homecare workers, and thousands of others fighting for racial and worker justice. The event was a huge success with over 700 cars filling the streets of Los Angeles in a caravan for justice. Shortly after on July 23rd, I attended a virtual hearing joined by Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and hundreds of essential workers. At the hearing, people shared their stories and talked about what it’s like to be an essential worker during the current health crisis. I was moved by the stories and frustrated to hear that people endure harsh working conditions to survive. Folks in the discussion emphasized that workers who are essential are not expendable.”

We asked Christine: How has the Dream Summer fellowship helped you grow?

“Working with SEIU 721 has taught me so many valuable lessons. First, it has reinforced for me the intersectionality of social justice issues and how a crisis, like the pandemic, only amplifies the already existing injustices within our communities. I also learned that organizing is necessary to challenge power and that power can be fairly redistributed by encouraging collaboration and partnership. The fellowship also made me reflect on our current systems and how maybe it is not about fixing these systems, but rather recreating them to achieve a truly equitable and just society.

This experience also taught me the importance of communication. A single conversation can catalyze change whether it be through learning about another’s experience, brainstorming next steps, discussing campaign plans, or simply reminding someone about an event. Building genuine and lasting connections is the foundation of a successful movement. Overall, I am extremely grateful that through this fellowship I had the opportunity to work with SEIU 721. At SEIU 721, I found a community that helped me find confidence in myself and strengthened my passion towards supporting my community.”

Learn more about Dream Summer here.

SCOTUS Decision on DACA & Resources

“DACA rally” by Victoria Pickering

***July 28, 2020 Update: The Trump administration announced on Tuesday, July 28th, that it will continue to defy the Supreme Court’s order to restore DACA. By doing so, the administration is effectively rejecting the judiciary’s authority and placing the lives of undocumented young people in danger. Read the DHS Memorandum on DACA here.

Content Below was Published on June 19th, 2020

The US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, June 18th, to allow the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to remain in place. The Dream Resource Center, at the UCLA Labor Center, celebrates this critical victory won by undocumented youth. DACA became a reality because of the continued organizing efforts of undocumented young people!

The ruling returns DACA to its initial 2012 form and reopens the DACA program to new applicants. However, we cannot know for sure whether DHS will accept new applications until they release guidance. All eligible individuals are encouraged to consult with a qualified and reputable immigration attorney to apply for, or renew, their DACA.

Although this decision is a win for our communities, DACA is not a permanent solution. We need to come together, organize, and demand a permanent solution for immigrant youth and all 11 million undocumented people living in the US. The fight for a welcoming and just society, where immigrant youth and their families can thrive­­, does not end with this decision.

As the fight for a permanent solution continues, the immigrant rights movement must also commit to fighting for justice for Black communities. We must echo the demand from the Black Lives Matter movement to defund the police and also be clear that we must abolish ICE. The immigrant rights movement must stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, recognizing that our Black immigrant siblings live at the intersections of both movements.

DACA Application and Renewal Guidance Resources

The following information will help DACA recipients prepare for filing, but should not be considered as legal advice and should not replace legal advice from an attorney or certified representative. Everyone’s case is different, which is why we strongly urge DACA recipients and first-time applicants to consider seeking out assistance from local non-profit organizations that provide free to low cost legal assistance.

Mario Perez, 2020 IJF Fellow

Mario Perez

Inland Empire Fellow

Host Organization: Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice

Meet Mario Perez! Mario is the Inland Empire fellow for the 2020 Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF), the UCLA Dream Resource Center’s California-wide rapid-response fellowship. The fellowship empowers and defends immigrant communities from mass detention and deportation by creating a partnership between immigrant youth leaders, on-the-ground organizations, and the UCLA Dream Resource Center. Learn more about IJF here.

Mario is an alum of the 2019 IJF cohort and was selected for this year’s cohort because of his exceptional dedication to the immigrant rights movement. Mario will be hosted by the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (IC4IJ). IC4IJ is composed of 35 organizations that collectively advocate and work to improve the lives of immigrant communities in the Inland Empire, while working toward a just solution to the current US immigration system. Learn more about IC4IJ on their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Q&A with Mario

What do you want us and our community to know about you?

“I want them to know that I am dedicated to protecting and defending the rights of our immigrant communities because they are amazing, resilient, and thriving communities. The best part of my work, as an immigrant rights activist, is providing humanitarian support to the undocumented immigrant community. I take great responsibility and pride when I support the community in any way possible.”

What about the fellowship are you excited about? 

“I am excited to return to IJF because my experience with the 2019 cohort was amazing. I grew so much from the education and wisdom provided to me by everyone involved in the project. I look forward to continuing my development and growth in the social justice movement through IJF.”

What drives you?

“My family and my community drive me. As an immigrant myself, I fight for the immigrant community but also for myself because if they thrive, I thrive. If they succeed, I succeed. I have the responsibility to do better for my community.”

What are your hobbies or what makes you YOU?

“I am a complex human. I love the arts, especially music and fashion. I enjoy going to music and fashion themed museums. I could live off gummy bears and peach rings. My favorite show, at the moment, is Big Little Lies and I love watching The Trixie & Katya Show. Something unique about me is that I am obsessed with Russian culture.”

Deyanira Cuellar, 2020 IJF Fellow

Deyanira Cuellar

Fresno Fellow

Host Organization: Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative

Meet Deyanira Cuellar! Deyanira is the Fresno fellow for the 2020 Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF), the UCLA Dream Resource Center’s California-wide rapid-response fellowship. The fellowship empowers and defends immigrant communities from mass detention and deportation by creating a partnership between immigrant youth leaders, on-the-ground organizations, and the UCLA Dream Resource Center. Learn more about IJF here.

Deyanira will be hosted by the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC). CVIIC empowers immigrant families, strengthens the capacity of immigrant-serving organizations, and promotes coordination and collaboration that strengthens efforts to create strong, vibrant, and inclusive communities for immigrants. CVIIC is based in Fresno County but serves families from Kern County in the south to San Joaquin County in the north. Learn more about CVIIC on their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Q&A with Deyanira

We asked Deyanira a few questions to get to know her and understand why she is joining the 2020 Immigrant Justice fellowship.

What do you want us and our community to know about you?

“I was originally born in Michoacán, Mexico; however, I have spent most of my life in the Central Valley. Growing up I was always hyperware of my undocumented status, while I didn’t know exactly what it meant at the time, I understood that I could not be open about where I was born. Revealing my status could put myself and my family in danger.

My fears were solidified when my father was deported after a traffic stop, when I was in elementary school. The event led to my passion for helping immigrant communities, regardless of immigration status, understand their rights and get the adequate representation they deserve.

I’ve channeled this passion into my educational and professional experiences. I’ll be a first-generation college graduate this May with a B.A. in Political Science from UC Merced. At UC Merced, I had the opportunity to become an immigration intern at the International Rescue Committee in Turlock, CA. After a few months, I was hired as a caseworker and then promoted to a specialist in the management of a federal grant serving refugees and asylees. My work with the International Rescue Committee solidified my passion for helping our immigrant communities.”

What about the fellowship are you excited about? 

“I’m excited about focusing my work and advocacy in the Central Valley because, having grown up in the region, I know that the Central Valley community is often neglected. We lack an abundance of resources especially for immigrant communities, that is why I want to focus my work and advocacy in the Central Valley for the rest of my life.

I’m also excited about getting to know my communities even more and helping them get adequate access to information, resources, and services they need. For example, many Central Valley communities and families lack access to mental health services. I’m excited about expanding their access to these kinds of services.”

What drives you?

“My biggest inspiration is my mom, who has been a single parent for most of my life. Whenever I need inspiration, I look to her and think of all the sacrifices she made for my education to be possible. My mom has instilled in me many important values like sharing everything I have, even if it is not that much. My younger siblings are also an inspiration for me. I’ve been able to guide them and hope to continue to be a good role model for them.”

What are your hobbies or what makes you YOU?

“In my free time, I love being able to spend time with my family. My mom has 14 siblings who we try and get together with weekly. It provides me so much comfort to just laugh and talk over a carne asada with them. I also enjoy going out with friends and just always having a good time. I am also always down to binge watch any series on Netflix like HTGAWM or Jane the Virgin.”

Eva-Vera Kouassi Clollet, 2020 IJF Fellow

Eva-Vera Kouassi Clollet

Inland Empire Fellow

Host Organization: Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Meet Eva-Vera Kouassi Clollet! Eva is the Inland Empire fellow for the 2020 Immigrant Justice Fellowship (IJF), the UCLA Dream Resource Center’s California-wide rapid-response fellowship. The fellowship empowers and defends immigrant communities from mass detention and deportation by creating a partnership between immigrant youth leaders, on-the-ground organizations, and the UCLA Dream Resource Center. Learn more about IJF here.

Eva will be hosted by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI). BAJI is a human rights and racial justice organization that educates, advocates, and organizes on behalf of over 10 million Black immigrants and refugees in the US while building power with African Americans to fight for racial, economic, and social justice. Learn more about BAJI on their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Q&A with Eva

We asked Eva a few questions to get to know her and understand why she is joining the 2020 Immigrant Justice fellowship. 

What do you want us and our community to know about you?

“My name is Eva-Vera Kouassi and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I am the eldest of three children and I grew up in the Ivory Coast, a beautiful country located in West Africa. My cultural background allows me to speak four languages: English, French, and two African languages (Baoulé and Bamileke). I will be graduating soon with a B.A. in Political Science from UC Riverside. I am thankful for the opportunity to join the 2020 Immigrant Justice Fellowship.”

What about the fellowship are you excited about? 

“I am excited to meet the other fellows and share my experience with everybody. I am eager to learn from this fellowship and help my community to the best of my ability.”

What drives you?

“The values and principles I walk by are kindness, integrity, justice, honesty, determination, and courage. These values and principles are what drive me to follow up on my commitments and think of others first. My motto in life is ‘you are what you do,’ consequently I always strive to do what is right and be an example to others. I also value love, happiness, compassion, and things that make me feel valued and bring inner happiness.” 

What are your hobbies or what makes you YOU? 

“I really enjoy learning new things. I constantly seek out new learning opportunities. I am also a very creative person and passionate about art in all of its shapes. Museums are my favorite places to visit and I love painting. It is a great way to express yourself. I also like to spend some of my free time doing creative “DIY” projects.”