Calladitas No More

Black Panther’s’ Lupita Nyong’o Delivered A Powerful Speech About DREAMErs At Last Night’s Oscars

Advocating for social change has never been more center stage than at this year’s award season. Over the course of two months, fans of the biggest red carpet events in entertainment have watched as stars dressed in black, wore Times Up pins, and delivered speeches that have rallied for representation on screen and opposition to the NRA.

Last night’s Oscars were no different with the help of actress Lupita Nyong’o. Her speech during the awards show celebrated the young immigrants whose futures hinge on the government’s renewal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

Nyong’ joined actor Kumail Nanjiani on stage to present an award but not before addressing how both had fought the odds to pursue their acting dreams.

Before announcing the nominees for Best Production Design, the Oscar-winning actress and Oscar-nominated actor spoke of an issue deeply woven into their Hollywood success stories.

“Good evening, we are the two actors you keep hearing about, but whose names you have trouble pronouncing,” Nyong’o joked before announcing the nominees for achievement in production design.

“Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers,” the Mexican-born Kenyan explained before outlining the country’s basic ethos which abides by a person’s right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. “We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America.”

Nanjiani wrapped up their speech by adding “So to all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you.”

So far, Twitter is in agreement that Lupita and her speech were the real winners of the night.

Seriously, the 2019 Oscars better have an award for best social advocate ready.

And they better be ready to hand it over to Lupita, because…

She did not come to play.

Nyong’os speech which never directly pressed the political issue of immigration directly, was a reminder that a person’s ability to pursue their dreams and livelihood should not be considered a partisan issue. She, alongside a lineup of influential Latinas who also presented, proved that the entertainment industry is heading towards an age where the embrace and celebration of diversity is standard.


Read: Chilena Daniela Vega Made History As The Academy Awards First Openly Transgender Presenter

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She Struggled To Pay For College Because She Was Undocumented, So This Latina Created An App To Make The Process Easier For The Next Generation

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She Struggled To Pay For College Because She Was Undocumented, So This Latina Created An App To Make The Process Easier For The Next Generation

A college degree is increasingly essential to a successful future but the cost is more expensive than ever. It’s even more costly for students who don’t qualify for FAFSA due to their undocumented status.

That’s the problem Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca faced when she first pursued financial assistance.

Realizing she was denied financial aid because she was undocumented the young Latina looked for help. “I asked my counselor for guidance on other options to finance my college education and she said that people like me didn’t go to college,” Espinoza Salamanca explained to Forbes.

In order to get FAFSA assistance, applicants need a Social Security number. Unfortunately, this disqualifies the 3.6 Million DREAMers under the Obama Administration’s DACA policy.

“It took me a while to realize that I was probably not the only one in this situation and that is when the initial idea of ‘one day somehow I’m going to have to fix this problem,’” Espinoza Salamanca explained. Motivated, the Latina sought to turn her fledgling idea into a tool to benefit students like herself.

In 2014, Espinoza Salamanca submitted her idea — the DREAMers Roadmap app — to the Voto Latino’s Innovator Challenge. The app links undocumented students to scholarships that don’t require proof of citizenship.

The idea was such a success. Espinoza Salamanca won the Innovator Challenge in 2015 and secured $100,000 to re-invest in the app.

The DREAMers Roadmap app has helped over 20,000 students since it’s creation.

While building the app, Espinoza Salamanca found a common concern among students. The fear of government agencies learning about their status kept many from asking for help. So, in addition to offering financial aid, the app offers users a guarantee of privacy.

“One of the ways we protect our users is by only asking them for an email to create an account and not asking them for any personal information,” Espinoza Salamanca reassured of the app’s discretion. “We also created a feature called ‘Explore’ which allows any user to see all of our scholarships without having to create an account.”

With new financial options for these students, comes new possibilities. Espinoza Salamanca hopes to help facilitate even more college enrollment for members of the Latinidad.

“We as a country, we are losing so much talent and potential by making it so hard to educate these students.” Espinoza Salamanca continued, “We make it nearly impossible for these kids to have an opportunity to be an essential part of this country. This is our home too.”

If you’re interested in downloading the DREAMers Roadmap, you can do so for free! It’s now available for both Google Play and the iPhone app store.


READ: If Catalina Cruz Wins In November, She’ll Be New York State’s First Dreamer To Be Elected To Office

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

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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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