I thought I was just a regular American | Alvaro Castillo & Carla Martinez | TEDxCSUN

09 Dec 2016 11:42 181
1,265 737

When the federal DREAM Act initiative failed to pass congress in the year 2010 millions of undocumented youth across America were distraught but, their dreams persevered. Two years later President Barack Obama signed an executive order, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which would reignite hope for undocumented youth once again. In this talk, Alvaro Castillo and Carla Martinez, undocumented undergraduate students at California State University, Northridge, share their stories of life before and after DACA.

Alvaro Castillo is a senior at California State University, Northridge, majoring in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Alvaro first migrated to the United States with his parents at the age of three and has lived in Oregon, Utah and California. Currently, Alvaro is an intern at CSUN’s DREAM Center where he contributes to campus outreach initiatives and serves as a peer mentor for undocumented students who seek academic and/or personal guidance. Recently, Alvaro was a participant in a study abroad program exclusively designed for undocumented students. Nearly twenty years later, Alvaro was able to reconnect with his roots and learn, firsthand, about the country of his birth, Mexico. He hopes to see the number of study abroad programs available for undocumented students grow. Graduating in May, Alvaro plans to continue his studies and obtain either an M.F.A. or a Ph.D. in Creative Writing so that he may continue to communicate the undocumented experience.

Carla Daniela Martinez is a 19-year-old sophomore attending California State University, Northridge where she is majoring in Deaf Studies with the aspirations of becoming an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. Carla is undocumented as her family migrated from Lerdo, Durango, Mexico to Boyle Heights in Los Angeles in 1996 when she was 9 months old. She is committed to sharing her experiences as an undocumented student through her work in order to help other students throughout their academic and personal journeys. Serving as an intern at the CSUN DREAM Center, she coordinates outreach initiatives in order to foster a sense of inclusive community across campus. Most recently, Carla has started a research project that focuses on the barriers that exist for undocumented and deaf students locally. She is passionate about sharing knowledge that will benefit the greater good and as such she interested in policy studies and her ultimate goal is to attend law school.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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