At the beginning of the year, I accepted a 6-month fellowship with Voqal to build a project. The project I chose was to establish DACA Network, a professional network for ‘DACAmented*’ professionals, like myself.
DACA Network functions to complete the following objectives:
- Providing a stage for undocumented immigrants to speak on their experiences and growth within the professional world
- Establishing connections between businesses and immigrants, leading to a healthy symbiotic relationship
This is important to me because the narrative around undocumented immigrants tends to be anchored around exemplary college-bound DREAMers who overachieve despite the weight of the world on their shoulders with a hopeful smile. The reality is that many who once fit that image have now graduated college, and are looking to continue their lives as adults.
Since the efforts to pass the DREAM act early in the decade, we have learned to develop our own political voices. This is not to say we are averse to working with politicians, but rather we have developed a deeper understanding of the workings of politics, and are able to navigate them using our own narratives.
* a neologism to describe individuals who benefit for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Those who are under this program are undocumented immigrants with a limited set of rights, including a work permit.