Things That Matter

After Becoming The First Undocumented Student At Her School To Get Her Ph.D., She’s Concerned About DACA’s Future

Credit: Yuriana Aguilar / Facebook

As the first undocumented student to receive her Ph.D. from the University of California, Merced, Yuriana Aguilar is working hard to advance research on cardiovascular disease. But her success did not come easily. From struggling to pay for her undergrad tuition without DACA, to then having the amazing opportunity of completing her Ph.D. with the benefits of DACA, Yuriana Aguilar has been on both sides of this U.S. policy. But the question is, what’s going to happen next?

Here is Yuriana’s story and what she has to say to those whose lives also depend on DACA.

Yuriana Aguilar comes from a very humble background. Her parents only made it to second and sixth grade, but they never doubted her ability to excel in higher education.

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CREDIT: SASHA KHOKHA / KQED

“Sometimes I would get very frustrated, and they would say, ‘Tú eres muy inteligente, you can do it,'” Aguilar said. “And I would be like, okay, I don’t need that, but I think I did.”

Her parents made their children’s education a priority. “My parents figured out that education was the key,” Aguilar told mitú.

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CREDIT: SASHA KHOKHA / KQED

“With some families, if they have a truck or if they have a little house, even if their kids are barely making it out of high school, they think they’ve made it. And maybe they have, because in Mexico life is a lot harder,” Aguilar explained. “But somehow my parents knew that education was the key, and they were right.”

During her first four years in college, Aguilar was turned away from scholarships and other financial aid programs because DACA didn’t exist until 2012.

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CREDIT: YURIANA AGUILAR / FACEBOOK

“One of the frustrations was trying to show the type of status I had,” she explained to mitú.

“When I was getting my Bachelors from 2007 to 2011, I could see a lot of people wanted to help me, they wanted me to have access to different opportunities and different scholarships, but [the organizations] would just tell me, ‘We can’t help you.'” Aguilar dealt with this for years. “It was very discouraging that they didn’t want to look at any of my qualifications.”

After getting her bachelor’s degree, she thought she had to end her education to give her siblings a chance to go to college.

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CREDIT: YURIANA AGUILAR / FACEBOOK

“I just couldn’t continue with school because my parents would be even more burdened. So I said, I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to get my Ph.D.”

“I was looking at the options and one of the options was being able to work for the university and the university would cover graduate school. But my [undocumented status] wasn’t going to work that way because I didn’t have a work permit, so I was going to have to pay for it. And I wasn’t going to be able to do that.”

But everything changed once DACA was implemented.

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CREDIT: YURIANA AGUILAR

“Now with DACA, there are more students coming through the education pipeline. It’s a huge difference. The reason I could complete graduate school and get my Ph.D. was DACA.”

Post-graduate Aguilar continues to research cardiovascular disease in Chicago and experts say she could help save lives.

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Credit: Yuriana Aguilar / Facebook

Christy Snyder, a member of the graduate division, explained: “The goal of Aguilar’s research is to better understand the molecular mechanisms that generate TWAs — knowledge that could eventually help to predict the likelihood of sudden cardiac death much earlier and allow those at high risk to get treatment.”

But now Aguilar’s concern is: what’s going to happen to DACA?

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CREDIT: SASHA KHOKHA / KQED

“My mom and dad both say que no me preocupe, to not worry. But a part of me is very concerned and very worried, because the president has spoken very openly about canceling DACA. So I’m very worried, but I mean, we just have to keep going… even if we’re not very sure.”

“When I was working on my bachelor’s and then my Ph.D., I wasn’t even sure if they were going to let me work as a scientist in the future,” Aguilar said. “But you just have to keep going.”

We asked Aguilar what advice she would give to those whose education, careers, and lives also depend on DACA, and she said she wants people to remain hopeful.

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CREDIT: YURIANA AGUILAR / FACEBOOK

“I would just tell them what I tell myself every day: we’ll see what happens,” she told mitú.

“And whatever happens, we’ve been on the other side. On the other side when they didn’t help us, when there was no support, there were no work permits. So I think if we go back to that side, unfortunately it will be very sad because we’ve tasted what it’s like to be legal,” Aguilar said. “And I don’t know what would happen in terms of a job. Well, I do know what would happen. Everybody’s hands would be tied again.”

“People have told me that this country wants good immigration. So they think we’re going to get something better than DACA. We’ve taken a step back, and I just hope that DACA does not go back as well. Hopefully this president doesn’t keep his promises on that.”


READ: Former Presidential Candidate Tells Educated Dreamer To Go To Another Country

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People Are Freaking Out About The High-Pitched Character Danny Trejo, AKA Machete, Voices In The New “Dora The Explorer” Movie

Entertainment

People Are Freaking Out About The High-Pitched Character Danny Trejo, AKA Machete, Voices In The New “Dora The Explorer” Movie

Dora The Explorer / Nickelodeon

“Dora the Explorer” isn’t the same little bilingual cartoon girl anymore. In the live action sequel, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” we get to see Dora venture into high school and navigate life as a pretty eccentric, curious teenager. The latest trailer for the movie, which hits theaters in less than a month, just dropped and we all have opinions.

The cast looks incredible. Eva Longoria and Michael Peña play Dora’s parents. Danny Trejo will be playing the unnervingly high-pitched voice of Boots the Monkey. Benicio del Toro will play the voice of Swiper the Fox (“Swiper, no swiping!”). We also expect to see Eugenio Derbez offer his talents alongside new talents Isabela Moner and Jeff Wahlberg.

Peruvian actress Isabela Moner is taking on the role of Dora.

Credit: @isabelmoner / Instagram

At just 18 years old, Moner was born in Cleveland, Ohio. While her mom is from Lima, Peru, Moner didn’t start learning English until she reached grade school. By the time she was 15 years old, she was accepted into college. You might recognize her from Nickelodeon’s 100 Things to Do Before High School or Legends of the Hidden Temple. She was also cast in Transformers: The Last Night. Playing Dora will be her biggest role to date.

The trailer shows hilarious scenes of a young Dora at the family dinner table asking the screen, “Can you say delicioso?”

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

We all know Dora as the all-too-patient Spanish language teacher from our childhood who would pause for 10-15 seconds to let the audience practice saying words like “niño” and “delicioso.”

In the trailer, her parents look around the room, concerned, and brush the behavior off as just a phase.

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

Eva Longoria and Michael Peña characters look around the room, wondering who their daughter is talking to. Finally, Peña’s character comforts his wife saying, “she’ll grow out of it.” Thankfully, she does.

While Dora isn’t trying to teach us all Spanish anymore, she’s still as curious as her younger cartoon self.

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

After spending most of her life in the jungle with her parents, Dora’s parents send her to live with her cousin Diego, in the city. At first, Dora thinks she’s heading off on her greatest adventure yet: high school.

Of course, no girl can go off to high school without their best friend.

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

For Dora, that best friend is still a monkey she keeps in her backpack. Ultimately, high school isn’t her greatest adventure. Dora quickly becomes wrapped up in a mystery to find the Lost City of Gold, uncover truths about an ancient Incan civilization and save her parents.

Some fans are most excited just to see Eva Longoria back on the big screen.

Credit: @janefnoda / Twitter

We’re all shimmying, verdad, to see so many actually Latino actors play Latino characters in such a big production. We applaud the white director of this film adaptation for doing right by true cultural representation.

Some fans are praying to see the awkwardness of baby Dora in live action.

Credit: @DonZolidis / Twitter

You will see it, and thankfully, we’ll be fully emotionally supported by Eva Longoria and Michael Peña in the genuine disturbance it causes. We’re moving on from this strange character trait.

Meanwhile, other Spanish speakers are taking a moment to express some latent cringe from listening to grammatically correct Spanish.

Credit: @curlydash / Twitter

That Spanish is so overrated. Some might even say criminal. If you read that last word in Spanish, you probably can relate to what Curly Dash is saying. But we’re all showing out for the movie, dale?

Of course, the racists came out to play. 🙃

Credit: @HostisHumaniGen / Twitter

White folks are still upset that Disney chose to correct some blatant racism in the original screenplay of Little Mermaid by casting a black woman to play Ariel. If you’re using the term “reverse racism,” you’re already wrong. Basta. 

If you always wanted to see a school bus eat Dora’s backpack, show out August 9th.

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

We love seeing confident, capable young women stay true to their roots and strengths and lead a bunch of teenagers into a jungle to solve impossible Incan mysteries. Can you say, emocionado?

READ: The First Trailer For ‘Dora And The Lost City Of Gold’ Is Here And People Are Surprised And Ready

Presidential Candidates At The Second Democratic Debate Stand Up For Undocumented Health Rights

Things That Matter

Presidential Candidates At The Second Democratic Debate Stand Up For Undocumented Health Rights

nbcnews / Instagram

The second night of the Democratic debates in Miami were held last night and the undocumented and DACA communities were the main topics. The clear winner of last night’s debate was California Senator Kamala Harris who took on former Vice President Joe Biden and emerged victorious. Here’s a quick recap of what the 10 candidates had to say last night.

California Kamala Harris took a stand with DACA recipient and pledged her full support if elected

“Immediately on January 20, 2021, I will… First of all, we cannot forget our DACA recipients, so I’m going to start there,” Harris answered moderator José Diaz-Balart when asked about dealing with the migrant crisis at the border. “I will immediately, by executive action, reinstate DACA status and DACA protection to those young people. I will further extend protection for deferral from deportation for their parents and for veterans, who we have so many who are undocumented who have served our country and fought for our democracy.”

She added: “I will also immediately put in place a meaningful process for reviewing the cases for asylum. I will release children from cages. I will get rid of the private detention centers and I will ensure that this microphone that the president of the United States holds in her hand is used in a way that is about reflecting the values of our country and not about locking children up and separating them from their parents.”

Sen. Harris then turned to Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and addressed his record on the issues of race and school integration.

“So, on the issue of race,” Harris started looking at Biden. “I couldn’t agree more that this is an issue that is still not being talked about truthfully and honestly. There is not a Black man I know be he a relative, a friend, or a coworker who has not be the subject of some form of profiling or discrimination. Growing up, my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us that her parents said she couldn’t play with us because we were Black.”

Harris then took on Biden’s record on race saying: “It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and careers on the segregation of race in this country. It was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose bussing. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school and she was bussed to school every day. And, that little girl was me.”

The moment was one of the most stunning at the debate. The audience was silent as Harris captivated the audience giving a personal story on race in America.

Harris was referring to Biden’s remarks from a New York fundraiser where he spoke openly about how he was able to work across the aisle with to segregationist senators in the 1970s.

“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland… He never called me ‘boy’. He always called me ‘son,'” Biden said of the segregationist senator from Mississippi.

He then brought up “a guy like Herman Talmadge, one of the meanest guys I ever knew, you go down the list with these guys. Well, guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done,” Biden said. “We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

The other big moment from last night’s debate was the candidates agreeing to healthcare for undocumented people in the U.S.

Credit: NBC News

Moderator Savannah Guthrie asked the candidates a show-of-hands question about which candidates included undocumented people on their health care plans. Every candidate raised their hands in solidarity.

Guthrie then turned first to South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as to why his plan allows undocumented people to have healthcare coverage.

“Our country is healthier when everyone is healthier,” Mayor Buttigieg said. “Remember, we’re talking about something that people are given a chance to buy into. In the same way that there are undocumented immigrants in my community who pay. They pay sales taxes. The pay property taxes directly or indirectly. This is not about a handout. This is an insurance program.”

Debate viewers were pleased to see the show of support for the undocumented community.

Credit: @un_documented / Twitter

The undocumented community has faced years of attacks from the current administration. The community does not have the power to vote so their future and wellbeing is tied directly to the people around them who have the ability to vote. Hearing candidates talk about issues impacting the undocumented community with compassion is something so many voters have been looking for.

It gave some people hope for the future of America for the first time in two years.

Credit: @CarlosGSmith / Twitter

It is not a secret that several communities have been in distress as the Trump administration steam rolls over everyone’s rights. Seeing this display is something that is sending a message to Americans seeking a compassionate and better functioning government.

It is also important to note that nay sayers of the idea claim they don’t want their tax dollars paying for this. Undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Undocumented people in the U.S. pay billions of dollars in taxes. According to a 2017 study, undocumented people paid $11.7 billion in taxes in 2014.

Texas is the second largest beneficiary of undocumented taxes with a total of $1.6 billion in taxes coming from undocumented people in 2014. California was number one with $3.2 billion in tax dollars in 2014. That said, the debate of whether or not undocumented people deserve healthcare ignores the fact that undocumented people are subsidizing the federal programs Americans use on a daily basis, like Social Security, but those same people do not benefit from those tax dollars spent.

READ: Here Are The Winners And Losers Of Last Night Democratic Debates In Miami Last Night

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