For Immediate Release: October 10, 2019
Contact: Nicky Vogt at 610-389-1314 and [email protected]
Kevin, a Graduate of San Jose State University, Is TheDream.US’ “DREAMer of the Week”
Washington, DC – TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for undocumented immigrant youth, is continuing its “DREAMer of the Week” feature – a weekly profile of a TheDream.US Scholar whose story offers a powerful example of the incalculable contributions of DREAMers to America. TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided nearly 5,000 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC.
The Scholars’ stories are especially powerful and poignant as we near the November 12th Supreme Court oral arguments on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an executive action, which provided temporary legal protection for undocumented youth, terminated by President Trump in September 2017. The legal limbo and uncertainty is affecting Scholars’ lives, health, and futures and threatens to keep Scholars from fulfilling their incredible potential.
This week’s DREAMer is Kevin, a graduate Scholar of San Jose State University:
Through the TheDream.US, I was given the gift of education, and I was able to study without fear. However, TheDream.US ultimately gave me something bigger than myself, which is the gift of helping others.
Education has changed my life, and my families’ lives for the better, It has always been a sacred value in my family. As a college graduate, I have seen the instant benefits of attending college. After receiving my degree, I experienced an instant increase in income capacity. I have been able to reach professional development that is superior, fine-tuning my skills to a higher standard. But, most importantly, I’m making significant impacts in the lives of others through my newfound empowerment.
I’m now looking forward to moving on to higher forms of education. I aspire to earn a master’s in sociology or political science. In addition, I am also planning on finishing a master’s in dance. I look forward to working with my community, giving back, uplifting and empowering those like me. My dream job would entail one that allows me to make a tangible difference in the lives of immigrants, one that serves as a liaison for opportunity for those that don’t have it.
I have always been oriented toward social justice issues, issues which involve community and resistance towards injustice. I became a Sociology major in order to understand the larger framework of our society. This became the catapult for me to activate spaces on campus where people could come together and hold dialogue and organize. Amongst these spaces were my own school clubs, rallies, professional development meetings, and more. I also have always been creative, and consider myself an artist – I double majored in Dance and was constantly dancing and creating art.
My experiences on and off campus during college also included the privilege of becoming part of the first “New Americans Fellowships” with the county of Santa Clara. This was a groundbreaking opportunity for DACA-mented folks to work in local government. Consequently, I was able to work with the Office of Immigrant Relations & The Office of LGBTQ Affairs in Santa Clara county. Now, I am currently a Community Worker for the Santa Clara County Office of LGBTQ Affairs.
When we came to America, in a matter of hours I was in a new country with a new language. As a result of this, I grew up with a cognizant understanding of my status as an immigrant. In addition to this, I have always lived with a community of undocumented immigrants. The understanding of our collective undocumented-ness made us a community. I always knew I was undocumented. In fact, by the time I got to college it was an identity I had taken ownership of.
Our communities are stronger together and Dreamers, and immigrants, are an asset to this nation. If DACA is terminated, I will continue working, continue educating myself and moving forward with all my plans. DACA is a foundational stepping stone, it does not define me. My work ethic and respect for others define my character. If DACA is terminated, my dreams will remain resilient.
- Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here
- Watch a new video featuring TheDream.US college graduates online here