Support Marcela's Asylum Process

Dear community, 

As some of you know, I am currently applying for asylum. The asylum process is long and emotionally draining. As a low-income full-time student, I am going through financial difficulties and cannot afford essential costs associated with this process. I am planning to raise $1,000 by May 1. Please keep on reading to learn more about my current situation and support me if you are able to. 

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Marcela Rodrigues and I am a Queer immigrant woman from Brazil. I immigrated to United States by myself in 2014, fleeing violence for being a Queer woman. In Brazil, every 19 hours a LGBT person is killed. This is the highest LGBT murder rate in the world. Currently, under Jair Bolsonaro's presidency, violence against LGBT people in Brazil has increased drastically and I would be at an even higher risk if I had to return. I have built a life for myself in the U.S. as an immigrant. This is my home; my community, hopes, and dreams are all here. I have a year left of undergrad to get my bachelor's degree from Smith College. I have plans to go to graduate school and keep working as an activist and a writer. The idea of returning to a place where I have been violated and harmed terrifies me. 

I have filed my asylum application and I am currently waiting for my interview date. My lawyer is a Smith alum who I met at the Women of Color conference last year. She is based in Chicago and works with the NIJC (National Immigrant Justice Center). Her work is pro bono, the only cost I have associated with her services is a plane ticket from Chicago to Boston for my interview. 

In addition, I need financial assistance to cover the multiple fees and costs associated with this process. Here's a list of the main expenses I will be covering with your donation:

- Transportation to Boston: Brazilian Consulate appointment (4/26)
- Brazilian Consulate fees (4/26) 
- Plane ticket for my lawyer from Chicago to Boston and back (date TBD)
- Transportation to Boston: Asylum interview (date TBD)
- Place to stay in Boston for two nights 
- Semi-formal clothes for my interview 
- Therapy costs 

If you would prefer, I also accept Venmo @Marcela-RG. If you are able to provide me with rides Northampton-Boston, please contact me at [email redacted]. If you would like to support me in any other way, also contact me via email. 

In advance, thank you! I truly appreciate all of your support. I was able to get where I am today because of the support of amazing people I have met along the way. I hope to one day be able to give back. 

Obrigada, obrigada, obrigada! <3

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Lizbeth Oquita
Northampton, MA

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