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Radio Autonomía: Interview with Members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance
November 11, 2013 Interview with Dulce Guerrero & Luis Leon of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance
DULCE GUERRERO was born in Mexico and migrated to the state of Georgia along with her family at the age of two. Growing up she knew that the threat of deportation and family separation was real, but never imagined that it would hit so close to home. In January 2011, Dulce became involved in immigrant's rights after a traffic violation landed her mother in jail. She is currently an Undocumented youth organizer and the Secure Your Own Community trainer for NIYA. From organizing walk outs, to stopping deportations and participating in civil disobedience Dulce has become active in defending the community which she has been a part of for the last 18 years.
LUIS LEON was born in Veracruz, Mexico. At 5 years old, his family moved to North Carolina where he lived until finishing high school in 2011. Not able to afford college due to his immigration status, Luis’ family decided that he would go back to México on his own and continue his educational career there. After he received the news that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was passed, he resolved to come back to the US and return to his home. In July of 2013 Luis got the opportunity to be part of the Dream 9. This group of undocumented youths, who had been deported because of their immigration status, attempted to cross the US border demanding to be let in on humanitarian grounds. Along with the rest of the Dream 9, he was detained and spent 15 days in Eloy Detention center. Through the organizing of NIYA and other organizations, he and the rest of the Dream 9 were released and allowed to return to their homes in the United States.
The National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) is an undocumented youth-LED network of grassroots organizations, campus-based student groups and individuals committed to achieving equality for all immigrant youth, regardless of their legal status.
We believe that only a grassroots movement led by undocumented immigrant youth can properly address the inequities and seemingly insurmountable obstacles facing our communities. Through grassroots organizing, advocacy and direct collective action we aim to develop a sustainable movement for justice and equality led by those most affected and supported by committed, conscientious allies.
Our core values are to Empower, Educate and Escalate.
Empower: We are undocumented and unafraid. We realize that our greatest power comes from accepting ourselves and realizing that we, as the people most affected, are the ones that need to be at the forefront of our movement. We are committed to making sure that all undocumented youth realize the potential and power they have as undocumented youth, to embrace their identity and to demand nothing less than equality.
Educate: The core of our work not only relies in our methods but also our stories and pedagogy that are embedded in the history of social movements. While we understand the “how” and the “what” of our work, we also need to be aware of the “why.” An essential aspect of NIYA is to learn from past social movements successes and be able to incorporate and innovate that wisdom into today’s pursuit of justice.
Escalate: Throughout the years of restless organizing across this country, undocumented youth have claimed a place within the historical immigrant rights movement we must now take the lead. We have reached a point where lobbying alone is not adequate to accomplish our mission. We strongly believe that our movement needs to escalate and we will use mindful and intentional strategic acts of civil disobedience to be effective.