Things That Matter

Her Mom Cleaned Houses To Pay For Her Education After Her School Learned She Was Undocumented And Took Her Scholarship

When administrative officials at Camila Ozores Silva’s university found out she was undocumented, they took away her scholarship and made her pay back her tuition fees. The news meant that the student from Argentina had to find a new way to support herself through college all on her own.

Left uncertain as to how she would pay for her college education, the student who had aspired to pursue graduate school after college went to her dad and told him about her new plan: she would leave school for a semester and work to save money. But instead of receiving a supportive shrug from her father and an assuring pat on the back for her decision, Ozores’s dad told her “Me cortaré el brazo antes de que dejes de ir a la escuela,” (I’ll cut my arm off before you stop going to school).

Thanks to the support of her father, the Latina who recently graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida is attending graduate school in the fall. Student loans and debt will not be following her.

Last year, Ozores captured the attention of Twitter when she posted a photo of her father congratulating her after her graduation.

In a series of posts on her Twitter account, the psychology major shared a photo from her big day and her story of deciding to leave school before her parents intervened to help. In a post written by Ozores on her blog site, the new graduate explained how she and her parents “crafted a game plan to get me to the finish line in whatever ways we could manage. My mom began cleaning houses, her 60-year old body bending and stretching to polish the homes of people who voted to kick her out of this country, for my education. I started working thirty hours a week at a fast food restaurant while balancing a full load of classes. We made it work.”

Ozores’ post on Twitter quickly went viral.

Of course, trolls who caught wind of the student’s post quickly flooded it with hate and derogatory words. Many even started to tag ICE and called for her deportation. Fortunately, Ozores is a DACA recipient and is protected from being expelled from the country. She has a social security number as well as work authorization.

In response to the posts, the new graduate explained that her scholarship had been given to her for her academic achievements in high school with her full story given to USF. “The university had all my documents but still gave it to me, I never lied or falsified anything,” she explained on Twitter. “The scholarship also came with in-state tuition, as do all at my school. When they realized their mistake they took both away and made me pay back the scholarship money they had already given me.”

While trolls have done their best to flood Ozores’ story with hate, there’s no doubting how her story has impacted users on the platform.

Despite some ugly comments, many following and commenting on Ozores’ thread on Twitter have offered their support.

In fact, some undocumented students have started sharing their own experiences on her thread

As of early Tuesday, Ozares’ post had received nearly two hundred thousand comments. Hundreds of which included stories from fellow DREAMers and undocumented students

And most of us are simply just excited to see the great things she goes on to do next.

According to Camila’s account, she’ll be attending Colorado State University this coming fall.

Because by the looks of it she has big plans to help out the undocumented community.

Here’s to this year’s undocumented graduate students and DREAMers paving a way for themselves!


Read: Here’s How Activists In The U.S. Are Welcoming Women Refugees Who Traveled On The Central American Caravan

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Nonprofit United We Dream Is Crowdsourcing Immigrant Recipes For A Fundraising Cookbook

Culture

Nonprofit United We Dream Is Crowdsourcing Immigrant Recipes For A Fundraising Cookbook

unitedwedream / Instagram

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, people have spent a lot of time in their kitchens cooking food to bring them comfort. One unique thing about the self-isolation is that people are having to figure out how to make things stretch or substitute some of your usual ingredients. United We Dream wants to make sure they can do something good with all of the recipes we have created.

United We Dream wants to use your recipes to create some good.

According to an Instagram post, United We Dream is putting together an undocumented cookbook. In the spirit of sharing recipes and cultural moments, United We Dream is asking for people to submit their recipes.

“At United We Dream we believe in the power of art and culture to change hearts and minds and June is the perfect time to tap into our cultural creativity,” reads the United We Dream website. “On Immigrant Heritage Month, we want to celebrate our community through a joyous art form that every household does: cooking!”

The money is going to be used to help the undocumented and immigrant communities.

Credit: unitedwedream / Instagram

According to Remezcla, 100 percent of profits from the book will go to the organization’s National UndocuFunds. United We Dream launched the National UndocuFund to deliver financial assistance to undocumented people struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is likely that the fund will need to do some extra lifting to help communities recovering from recent looting and rioting that has rocked the U.S. in recent days.

“We know that nothing brings people together quite like food,” reads the United We Dream website. “The dishes that immigrants create, no matter how simple or complex, allow people to experience cultures other than one’s own and all the joys and pleasures that come with it.”

The cookbook is already getting people excited.

Credit: unitedwedream / Instagram

There is something to be said about people getting creative in the kitchen during this pandemic. Outings are limited because we are all staying home to slow the spread. There are also people who are still not at work. That is why we have had to get creative to make our food last.

“Today, times are tough because of COVID-19, but many working-class and poor households are embracing their creativity to create meals that both sustain their households and bring a moment of peace and comfort,” reads the United We Dream website. “We want to create a cookbook that reflects our diverse community and inspires memories of joy, comfort and togetherness!”

United We Dream understands the power of food.

Food is a unifier. Everyone eats and food is one way to connect with your culture. It is also a wonderful way to share your culture with other people. Sharing your food and culture with people is a special way to let your friends into your life.

The organization is still taking recipe suggestions. If you want a chance to give more people a look into who you are and your culture through food, click here to share a recipe.

READ: Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Things That Matter

Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Carlos Ebert / Flickr / Unsplash

Undocumented people are being left out of relief funds provided by the U.S. government. A lack of a Social Security number is why so many people have been denied relief assistance as the country grapples with an evergrowing number of COVID-19 cases. Organizations and states are stepping up to bridge that gap and give undocumented people a chance to make it through this crisis.

The Village Exchange Center in northern Aurora, Colorado is raising money to help undocumented families in Colorado.

The U.S. Congress passed an initial relief package of $2.2 trillion that came with $1,200 checks for all eligible Americans. One community left out is the undocumented community because they do not have Social Security numbers. This leaves millions of peoples without any financial safety net exacerbating the problems imposed by this pandemic.

The Village Exchange Center has sent 250 undocumented residents $1,000 checks.

According to Sentinel, the Village Exchange Center teamed received funds from the Denver Foundation, the Rose Community Foundation in Glendale, a third anonymous donor, and 30 individual donors. The $250,000 was already dispatched to the recipients chosen by the Village Exchange Center through money transfers or checks, depending on whether or not the recipient had a bank account.

This was the Village Exchange Center’s first round of COVID-19 relief payments to Colorado’s undocumented community.

The organization chose those who would receive the payments based on those who were laid off from jobs at restaurants, hotels, and other service industry jobs.

“They have no access to unemployment, they will not be getting a stimulus check or any other form of assistance, even though most of them pay taxes,” Mark Newhouse, a trustee at the Denver Foundation, told Sentinel. which helped build the fund. “And so, we quickly raised a quarter of a million dollars to run a pilot across the state.”

The organization is basing its work on the actions of California.

On April 15, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a state fund created to offer undocumented people relief funds. Gov. Newsom allocated $75 million in taxpayer money to give to undocumented people living in California. There are an estimated 2.2 million undocumented immigrants who live in California. Undocumented people contribute more than $10 billion in taxes to the federal government when they file each year. Gov. Newsom’s administration has been sending undocumented people $500 checks to help ease their COVID-19 economic impact.

“We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people that are in fear of deportations that are still addressing essential needs of tens of millions of Californians,” Gov. Newsom said according to The Associated Press. The governor continued by acknowledging that 10 percent of California’s workforce is undocumented. Gov. Newsom also highlighted that undocumented workers in California paid $2.5 billion in local and state taxes last year.

The Village Exchange Center is currently raising more money to offer to more undocumented people living in Colorado.

The first round of money was already distributed but the application for the next round of money will be available when the funds are secured. According to Sentinel, there were 180,000 undocumented people who lived in Colorado. The Village Exchange Center’s goal is to raise enough money to give each undocumented people in Colorado a $1,000 check to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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