As an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, immigration is a topic that hits close to home. Last year, I created an independent study project around the issue of DREAMers, young people who are undocumented. Through this class, we con
ducted research with administration
, institutions and DREAMers themselves. I was
honored to be able to interview them. I learned so much through their stories,
filled with suffering, darkness, pain, tears, smiles, laughter, faith, love and resilience.
We also studied what institutions are doing to create an environment of inclusivity for undocumented students.
I organized a campus-wide event at my college to raise awareness on the issue.
We had a great speaker who shared his story about life as an undocumented American, and he said "I am not a citizen of Guatemala. I am not a citizen of the United States. I am a citizen of the world." This is something that really resonated with me because just this past summer I became a U.S. citizen, and while I get to enjoy the privileges that come with this status, It's important that I see myself not as a citizen of the Dominican Republic or United States, but as a citizen of this world because this earth belongs to all of us.
All of this work connects back to my
time at Young
Voices. Something that has really followed me from Young Voices to college is my drive and ability to advocate for issues I truly care about.
Testifying at the state house or Providence School board meetings to stand up for change in our education system, is not different from meeting with administration to advocate for change in the lack of inclusion of immigrants at our campus.
Young Voices has truly shaped me into the driven, social justice activist that I am today. And I am grateful to have the opportunity to study abroad next semester in Argentina, where I will be enrolling in a program on Human Rights and Social Movements. I am thrilled and so eager to learn about ways in which I can become a more selfless, effective, positive and generous citizen of the world.
I hope you give to Young Voices this holiday season so more young people will have the chance to become leaders for social change in our world!