UCLA Labor Center

Meet Dream Summer 2019 Graduate, Armando Delgado Jr.

We are ecstatic to announce that the UCLA Dream Resource Center’s Dream Summer 2019 fellows will be graduating this Sunday, August 18th! The fellows engaged in critical work, throughout the fellowship, to ensure that social justice continues to be a strong force within the United States. Each fellow performed a critical role to advance the work of the host organization they were placed with and to sustain the immigrant rights and labor movement. The graduation will celebrate the leadership, dedication, resilience, and growth exhibited by each one of the Dream Summer 2019 fellows. 

Meet Armando Delgado Jr., one of the Dream Summer 2019 fellowship graduates!

Placed at United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) for Dream Summer 2019.

Biography

Armando Delgado Jr. comes from a single-parent household. His mother and three sisters have been a great support system throughout his life, such as by helping him accomplish his educational goals. Armando graduated with a B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. Having worked in the education field for three years at the Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley, he has successfully served as a mentor to students and helped students gain access to post-secondary educational opportunities. 

Although Armando enjoys working in the education field, in the future he hopes to utilize his skills to increase inclusion and accessibility for individuals with disabilities in the technology and healthcare fields. Having a disability himself, Armando understands how challenging it is for people with disabilities to navigate and find support in a socially and politically turbulent world. He also understands the difficulty of seeking aid in a society that implicitly or unconsciously discriminates against and secludes people with disabilities. He hopes to challenge these societal norms through his work. With this goal in mind, Armando will pursue a Ph.D. in public policy or human-centered design and engineering to examine how technology mediates communication and interactions with disabled populations.

Armando presenting during a power analysis activity at the Dream Summer 2019 kick-off.

We asked Armando: What was your experience with the fellowship like?

“My participation in the Dream Summer fellowship has been a pleasant and positive experience. It has provided me with the opportunity to learn how immigrants and allies organize, at a national and local level, to advocate for immigrant rights. The fellowship has also shown me how to raise awareness and increase advocacy for immigrant rights by building a strong community of supporters. 

I also learned how to effectively work at an organization that specializes in increasing community action for a specific social justice issue. The workshops that were presented to us, during the Dream Summer kick-off, gave me a huge eye opener to the wide range of fields in social justice, such as community outreach and field organizing. Through the workshops, I learned that in order to dismantle economic, political, and social barriers we must first understand the problems in our communities and how these problems affect individuals daily.”

Armando discussing some of the topics that will be spoken at UTLA’s Leadership Conference.

We asked Armando: How has the fellowship helped you grow?

“The fellowship has helped me grow into an individual who is more vocal. Through my host organization, United Teachers of Los Angeles, I learned how important it is to use your voice effectively⏤to create impact and change⏤when organizing for a social justice issue. It is important for one to express their opinions and fight for what is necessary.

The fellowship also gave me insight into how grassroots organizations and unions utilize social media platforms to conduct community outreach. I learned that social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be utilized as powerful tools to challenge authority and unite individuals under a common ground. The fellowship also taught me how to summarize large heaps of data and translate that data into infographics for a target audience to easily understand. People must easily understand a problem or issue in order for solutions to be implemented.”

Learn more about Dream Summer here.

 

Meet Dream Summer 2019 Graduate, Bezawit Tenna

We are ecstatic to announce that the UCLA Dream Resource Center’s Dream Summer 2019 fellows will be graduating this Sunday, August 18th! The fellows engaged in critical work, throughout the fellowship, to ensure that social justice continues to be a strong force within the United States. Each fellow performed a critical role to advance the work of the host organization they were placed with and to sustain the immigrant rights and labor movement. The graduation will celebrate the leadership, dedication, resilience, and growth exhibited by each one of the Dream Summer 2019 fellows. 

Meet Bezawit Tenna, one of the Dream Summer 2019 fellowship graduates!

Placed at the National Education Association for Dream Summer 2019.

Biography

Bezawit Tenna lives in Maryland and is currently a fourth year student at Towson University studying Political Science with a minor in Business Administration. Bezawit moved to the U.S from Ethiopia, with her family, on a hot summer day in 2006. At the young age of eight and with no prior knowledge of English, she was ready to embark on a journey that would change her life forever. Navigating through elementary school⏤without knowing how to speak English⏤posed many challenges for her social and academic life. However, given her sociable personality and with the help of her English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers, the language barrier only became a temporary dilemma.

Although school life was not very difficult for her, moving through the system as Black Immigrants was a challenge for her family. She noticed the lack of resources her parents had, from finding employment to help regarding legal work and assimilation. Inspired by the hardships her and her family faced, she made it her goal to alleviate some of the stress immigrant families face. She volunteered at various centers that provide resources to immigrants such as CASA de Maryland and the Ethiopian Community Center.

Upon graduating in Spring 2020, she hopes to work at an organization that helps marginalized groups⏤like immigrants⏤embrace every opportunity, notice their innate value, and see all things as possible. Through personal and educational experience, she understands the significance of current issues facing the U.S. immigration system. Due to this experience, she is interested in gaining first hand knowledge in key policy and international relations issues regarding immigration and human rights.

Bezawit preparing for an NEA CAPE meeting in LA.

We asked Bezawit: What was your experience with the fellowship like?

“For the Dream Summer fellowship, I was placed under the NEA Center for Social Justice (CSJ) and specifically under the Community Advocacy and Partnership Engagement (CAPE) department. Prior to the fellowship, the National Education Association (NEA) was only an organization that came up while talking about the educator Code of Ethics during a discussion in my education elective classes. I was never aware of the depth of the organization and the significant role it plays within the social justice movement.

At NEA CSJ, I was responsible for ensuring that minorities, particularly immigrants, are represented in the public school system as well as given the resources and support to achieve all of their goals. I researched different ways that immigrant students can organize to put on various events, such as Know Your Rights workshops and Citizenship Drives. Overall, through this fellowship, I was able to contribute to the fight for a more diverse classroom (teachers, administrators, and staff) that meets the demographics of our diverse student population. This is an essential part of the American public school system because representation is a crucial aspect of success for young and impressionable students.”

Bezawit meeting with NEA Senior Policy Analyst, Stephanie Luongo, regarding a research project on ethinc studies in public schools in the U.S.

We asked Bezawit: How has the fellowship helped you grow?

“The Dream Summer fellowship and NEA strengthened my skills, as well as helped me develop new skills. Throughout the fellowship, I mainly engaged in researching issues around immigration within the public school system. Through conducting research, I learned how to think complexly and how to present information in an effective and efficient manner. Communicating research data about immigration issues can be difficult because it is a multiplex issue.

The fellowship also helped me develop networking skills because I was encouraged to engage with staff by scheduling interview meetings with them. I was able to schedule a couple of interviews with staff working in human resources, communications, and advocacy. The interviews helped me understand that social justice work can be done both internally and externally. Prior to this fellowship, I would never have thought about asking someone to engage in a sitdown conversation regarding their work. This allowed me to recognize that networking is more than exchanging business cards and email addresses.” 

Learn more about Dream Summer here.

 

Meet Dream Summer 2019 Graduate, Abigail Gonzalez

We are ecstatic to announce that the UCLA Dream Resource Center’s Dream Summer 2019 fellows will be graduating this Sunday, August 18th! The fellows engaged in critical work, throughout the fellowship, to ensure that social justice continues to be a strong force within the United States. Each fellow performed a critical role to advance the work of the host organization they were placed with and to sustain the immigrant rights and labor movement. The graduation will celebrate the leadership, dedication, resilience, and growth exhibited by each one of the Dream Summer 2019 fellows. 

Meet Abigail Gonzalez, one of the Dream Summer 2019 fellowship graduates!

Placed at Equality California for Dream Summer 2019.

Biography:

Abigail Gonzalez was born on December 6th,1999 in La Barca, Jalisco, Mexico. When Abigail was just a six-month-old baby, her family immigrated to the United States for a better life and future. After moving to the U.S., Abigail grew up in the small neighborhood known as Boyle Heights located in Los Angeles, California. She attended First Street Elementary School, Hollenbeck Middle School, and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 2018. Throughout high school, Abigail was very active within her school and local community. She was class president for three years, was a four-year varsity softball player, was a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council, and a College Track scholar. 

Abigail is currently attending Pasadena City College (PCC) and will be transferring this fall to Pomona College, where she plans to pursue a degree in public policy. After graduating, Abigail hopes to work at a nonprofit organization that provides all immigrants⏤regardless of their immigration status⏤with educational opportunities, legal assistance, and mental health resources. Abigail’s career goal is tied to her personal life experience. Abigail comes from a mixed-status immigrant family, so she wants to empower her community and create positive social change because she is highly aware of the struggles immigrant families face. In particular, she understands how an individual’s immigration status can highly impact the type of opportunities available to them.   

In February of 2018, Abigail and her family were featured in NPR’s podcast Code Switch to discuss what living in a mixed-status immigrant household is like. Abigail’s mixed-status household includes her younger brother who is a U.S. citizen and her two older sisters who are both recipients of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA provides eligible immigrant youth⏤who were brought to the U.S. as children without proper documentation⏤temporary relief from deportation and a work permit. Unlike her brother and sisters, Abigail is neither a U.S. citizen or eligible for DACA. She is currently undocumented because the program is no longer accepting new applicants, since President Trump rescinded the program. Abigail’s older sister, Miriam Gonzalez, is a plaintiff in the lawsuit suing the Trump administration for its decision to rescind DACA.

Abigail at the Census 2020 press conference, held by Los Angeles County Supervisor representative Hilda Solis, that addressed the potential inclusion of a citizenship question on the U.S. Census.

We asked Abigail: What was your experience with the fellowship like?

“As a Dream Summer fellow, I was assigned to work with Equality California (EQCA), the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. EQCA works on improving the lives of California’s LGBTQ community through grassroots organizing and political advocacy. This summer, I had the pleasure to work with EQCA’s 2020 Census outreach team. I was in charge of the outreach to college campuses in the Los Angeles County. Our goal was to engage LGBTQ and immigrant youth with the U.S. 2020 Census. Outreach was challenging because it is summer and many campuses do not have a lot of students present, but I was able to connect with five campuses that will allow EQCA to host tabling events for census outreach. These tabling events include talking to students about the importance of the 2020 Census and getting them to pledge to fill it out.

I also attended two press conferences, with EQCA, about the 2020 Census. The first press conference brought local leaders and community members together, right after the Supreme Court’s decision on the potential inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. The second press conference was hosted by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer in order to inform his district about the census work he is supporting. These two press conferences were significant because they were the first I had ever attended. They taught me about the work that other community organizations are doing regarding the U.S. Census.”

Abigail with Dream Summer Project Coordinator, Leticia Bustamante, at the 2020 Census press conference in Los Angeles. 

We asked Abigail: How has the fellowship helped you grow?

“If I am being completely honest, I never thought I would be able to have an opportunity like this because I am not eligible for DACA. Therefore, this fellowship has been nothing but a huge learning experience for me. It is the first fellowship that has allowed me to learn skills necessary for a job. This fellowship was a lot of firsts for me. It was my first time being in an office and professional setting. I never thought I would be able to experience this, at such a young age, because opportunities like these are rare to find when you are undocumented⏤and even more so when you do not have DACA. 

Overall, I have grown a lot professionally. Throughout the fellowship, I wrote professional emails, made professional phone calls, and attended staff meetings. These experiences helped develop my professional skills such as time management, organization, problem-solving, communication, and more. These are skills that one cannot develop and improve, if one is not in a professional setting. 

This fellowship was also great for networking. I met a lot of cool people who are doing great work! They have provided me with both professional and life advice. I have grown so much⏤both personally and professionally⏤in just a couple of weeks because of this fellowship.”    

Learn more about Dream Summer here.

 

Waking Dream – Free Film Screening

About:

Join us for a free film screening of Waking Dream and a follow-up panel discussion with the film’s participants!

Waking Dream is a documentary that weaves together the stories of six DACA recipients as they sit in limbo between deportation and a path to citizenship.

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has provided nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth a chance to work legally, go to college, start businesses, and pursue the “American Dream.”

After DACA was rescinded, Waking Dream follows the unfolding fate of six of these young people as they fight for legal status in the U.S., struggle with the deportation of family members, and pursue their dreams.

View the film trailer here.

Date:

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Time:

6 – 8 PM

RSVP At:

http://bit.ly/DreamWaking

Location:

UCLA Downtown Labor Center

675 S. Park View St,

Los Angeles, CA 90057

Parking:

Street parking will be available outside of the UCLA Downtown Labor Center. Metered parking is free after 6 PM. We encourage you to take public transportation if possible to avoid parking issues.

Additional Information:

Light refreshments and food will be provided. If you need translation available, please let us know in advance.

Hosted By: 

UCLA Dream Resource CenterUCLA Labor Center, and iNationMedia

For Questions Contact: 

dreamresourcecenter@gmail.com

Meet Dream Summer 2019 fellow Dani Alderete

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 Dani Alderete, a finalist who the DRC wants to highlight because of his continued work in the immigrant rights movement and a returning Dream Summer fellow! Dani graduated from Dream Summer 2018 but will be joining the DRC for Dream Summer 2019 to continue developing his skills!

Dani Alderete

Biography

Dani Alderete was born in Cuautla, Morelos, México and goes by Him/They pronouns. They arrived to the United States at the age of four and has lived in Long Beach ever since. Dani started kindergarten in the Long Beach Unified School District and navigated primary school without knowing how to speak English. The advocacy and assistance of Dani’s mother, as well as teachers, staff, and neighbors, helped Dani become adjusted to living in the U.S. Dani was always aware of their family’s undocumented immigration status; however, it became more salient when Dani started high school. During high school, Dani became aware of the various barriers ahead due to their immigration status such as being ineligible to apply for a driver’s license and being ineligible to receive financial aid for college.

Yet Dani maintained hope for the future and persevered by graduating from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) with a B.A. in Human Development and minors in Queer Studies, Spanish, and Gerontology. During Dani’s undergraduate career, they had the opportunity to be a part of the 2018 Dream Summer fellowship. The validating and caring community that Dani found in Dream Summer, encouraged Dani to stay connected and build a community with immigrant peers at CSULB by joining the student organization For Undocumented Empowered Leaders (FUEL).

Dani leading a “Stress Management with Aromatherapy” workshop during Dream Summer 2018.

Dani plans to attend graduate school and is currently working on applications for programs in college counseling/student services and mental health services. After graduating, Dani’s goal is to work at an AB540/Undocumented Center to help immigrant students reach their educational goals. Dani knows how difficult it is to access and navigate higher education as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S., so they wants to assist in creating inclusive, accessible, and equitable spaces for immigrant students. In the future, Dani also hopes to open up a private practice that provides mental health therapy and career coaching to the LGBTQIA+ community and immigrant communities.

Dani sharing a significant moment they experienced during the 2018 Dream Summer fellowship.

Why the Dream Summer fellowship?

“I applied to Dream Summer because I wanted to build community with other immigrant youth and learn more about community organizing. Since middle school, I was aware about my undocumented immigrant status and always had a desire to get involved in the immigrant rights movement. However, I was unsure of how to get involved and experienced deep anxiety and fear about sharing my immigration status with other people. I would frequently run into Facebook videos featuring Dream Summer alumni that the UCLA Dream Resource Center would post on their page. The videos were inspirational and I saw the amazing work that fellows were doing throughout the fellowship and later on as Dream Summer alumni. That inspiration and my desire to get involved are some of the main reasons why I applied to Dream Summer.”

-Dani Alderete

Learn more about Dream Summer here.

 

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

Biography:

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.

 

House passes the Dream and Promise Act

The American Dream and Promise Act  (H.R. 6) passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday and is now set to move on to the Senate. This is a significant victory for the immigrant rights movement! Passage of the American Dream and Promise Act would provide protection and a path to U.S. citizenship for an estimated 2.5 million immigrant youth, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries. With many of the UCLA Dream Resource Center fellows and their families directly impacted by the potential passage of the Dream and Promise Act, we are reminded of the need to continue building the new generation of leaders within the immigrant rights movement. We will continue to help immigrant youth thrive and succeed!

Ford Foundation Grants the Labor Center $750k for worker and immigrant initiatives

Image By Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Shutterstock

The UCLA Newsroom reports that “UCLA has received $1.5 million from the Ford Foundation for efforts to help disadvantaged populations, including children and youth from immigrant families and undocumented and low-wage workers. Grants of $750,000 each will go to the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies’ Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education and the UCLA Labor Center, part of the UCLA College’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.”

The grants will aid the UCLA Labor Center’s mission to improve working conditions for low-wage workers, including immigrants and young workers. More specifically, the funding will support the UCLA Labor Center’s projects, known as the Dream Resource Center and ReWork, to create a just economy, strong families and communities.

Our director, Kent Wong, stated: “This new support from the Ford Foundation will make it possible for the UCLA Labor Center to continue to partner with workers, people of color and young people to promote social, racial and economic justice in higher education and the workplace. These partnerships have helped Los Angeles emerge as a national center to raise the minimum wage, advance the rights of immigrant youth and workers and support multiracial worker movements.”

Read the entire article here: http://bit.ly/2whqWSD.

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

SACRAMENTO FELLOW

Placed at Sacramento Immigration Coalition

Biography

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

ORANGE COUNTY FELLOW

Placed at Resilience OC

Biography

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

CENTRAL VALLEY FELLOW

Placed at Faith in the Valley (Kern County)

Biography

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

INLAND EMPIRE FELLOW

Placed at Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice

Biography

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

SILICON VALLEY FELLOW

Placed at Santa Clara Rapid Response Network

Biography

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

LOS ANGELES FELLOW

Placed at Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition

Biography

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