I began my work as a community organizer with Blue Group at Western Washington University (WWU). We sent letters, started petitions, organized marches, held demonstrations in the middle of campus, and met with leadership at WWU so that they would put in place policies to give more support to undocumented students. The changes we made are still present at WWU to this day. Shortly after this, I began organizing with Community 2 Community (C2C) – I joined an amazing group of women of color organizers who taught me how to find power within our community to make effective change – this is a skill took with me and will use for the rest of my life. One of the biggest things I did with C2C is being a part of the campaign to make Bellingham a sanctuary city. Part of this included holding rallies every week to raise awareness, hosting “Dignity Dialogues” where we invited members of the community and allies on a bi-weekly basis to educate them on undocumented issues and give them actionable items, and speaking to the city council about my personal experience as an undocumented immigrant. My work with C2C expanded beyond immigration – we also supported farmworker and labor rights, racial justice, gender justice, and many more issues that fell under the umbrella of social justice.
A mentor from C2C connected me to Detention Watch Network (DWN) – the biggest anti-detention center organization in the United States. I was hired on and became the state-wide organizer in Washington as part of a national campaign called DefundHate, where we raised awareness about the injustices occurring in detention centers and moved to pressure lawmakers to defund government support to these institutions. During this campaign, DACA was suspended – meaning that I was in an even more vulnerable position. However, I moved forward. I put the safety of myself and my family on the line, often receiving threats of violence towards me and my family by people who were anti-immigrant. Throughout this campaign I met with both Washington Senators, several congresspeople, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Governor Jay Inslee. I brought the concerns of my community to the table and made my story public in the process. Years later, I found more stability in my life and decided to finally apply to medical school.
I applied to medical school, interviewed, and was accepted at my #1 choice – Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). On top of its amazing medical program, OHSU had many opportunities for me to work with the communities that I had been fighting for since I began my organizing. I want to practice in primary care to help communities that have been affected in the way I have. I want to change our systems of medicine to bring equity and justice to Black communities, people of color, LGBTQ folks, Indigenous communities, undocumented communities, houseless populations, and anyone else who has been left behind by medical institutions. I confirmed my acceptance and began plans to move to Portland.
Unfortunately, due to how hard the medical system was hit financially by COVID-19, OHSU had to suspend scholarships to incoming students for the rest of the year. For those of you who do not know, as my status relates to academic opportunity, I do not qualify for any sort of FAFSA or financial aid. For this reason, only about 4% of DACA recipients graduate from undergraduate programs. This number is considerably less when it comes to medical school. The only reason I was able to complete my undergraduate education is that I worked 3 jobs while being a full-time student and received merit scholarships for my academic achievements. Keep in mind, all of this was on top of taking pre-med classes (graduated top 2% of my class in two degrees in two separate colleges), conducting research (worked for over 5 years in labs, resulting in several publications and half a dozen posters), participating in clinical activities, serving in leadership positions, and more to make myself competitive for medical school. Part of my clinical experience involved working for a year in a rural primary care setting (Moscow, Idaho) as a medical assistant, including in our local COVID-19 Tent
I am now less than two months from starting school and trying to find the money to attend with no opportunity for FAFSA.
I am asking for help from the community so that I can begin to pursue my dream of attending medical school. I am still hopeful that OHSU will do the right thing and give scholarships to deserving students but with less than two months until I begin school, I am looking for other ways of funding my education. Any money you give is appreciated and will be put toward my education expenses.
If OHSU changes their mind or other sources end up finding me funding for this year, I will use the money donated toward covering tuition for the following 3 years. In the case that my tuition for the 4 years is covered, I will use the money to set up a scholarship at OHSU for undocumented students.Examples of my past activism:
Moscow Defend DACA - https://youtu.be/M0sVNcRDhMU
Washington Dream Coalition Rally - https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1481577328544389/
Patty Murray Letter Delivery - https://www.facebook.com/defundhateWA/photos/rpp.351233738641446/359388767825943/
KBCS DACA Radio Interview - https://www.kbcs.fm/2017/09/08/the-potential-impact-of-the-recent-daca-repeal/
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