Never thought getting a masters from Harvard was possible… but now I have completed the first year of my PhD at UCLA!


It has been a very long time since I have updated my blog. Many things have happened since I graduated from Harvard in 2011.

Mainly, I have started my PhD at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and have now completed my first year. I was accepted into the first ever cohort of the Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o Studies. With over 150 applicants, I was one of seven admitted.  🙂

This first year has been challenging in many ways and has pushed me beyond my comfort zone, making me grow not only as an academic but also as a person. I have met amazing friends and have gotten the opportunity to work with professors I have admired for many years.

This summer I am working on my masters thesis, I know what you are thinking, “another masters?”  Yes, my masters in passing (as it is referred to) will be about the impact of immigration policy on children in undocumented families in AZ. I am analyzing drawing that kids have made about living through immigration raids and family deportations. I believe that their voices are  powerful and their stories should be told.

I am amazed at the fact that we are living in very important times.  Realistic debates about Immigration Reform are finally occurring while deportations continue to skyrocket.  Students known as the DREAM 9 are breaking down borders and proving that we have incredible power.

Now to really update you I will tell you about this School Year:

Summed up in pictures!

Meet some amazing people! (My cohort)

cohort_2                                                                                                           (Photo Credit: Jeff Newton)

Get to learn from the inspirational Judy Baca!


Presented at conferences on my research:

Case Study on effects of immigration raids and family separation on 9 year-old Katherine Figueroa! 


Took classes rooted in Nonviolence and Social Movements! 


                                                                                                        (photo credit: Pocho1)922563_10151605248796271_169612296_o

Painted a murals!


Performed some Teatro! 


Learned little ways to be fly in grad school…


Spent time with loved ones


Got to live in a new city… Hello LA!


Ran my 1st 5K!


Welcomed new family members: Jaylene ❤


Witnessed Powerful Actions


Visited another continent, homeland of my maternal great grandparents: China! 




Reunited with family from “el otro lado” 


touched my first jelly fish! 


Blessings to you all. Until next time! 



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A video by the American Psychological Association on Undocumented Students.

To watch video go to this link:

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Obamas Deferred Action… deferred freedom.

As the feelings of happiness, anger, and disbelief begin to overwhelm my heart.

I was shocked to hear that President Obama just signed an order of deferred action making the Department of Homeland Security change the way they enforce immigration law. Now, thousands of young people who were at a loss because of their lack of immigration status will be able to have a work permit and they no longer will be deportable immigrants.

Details of who qualifies:

1.) Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2.) Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
3.) Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4.) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
5.) Not be above the age of thirty.

I am happy, because I feel that hundreds of people I have met, and come across in my life will finally be able to use their degrees they have worked so hard for, they will be able to help their families advance in life, they will be the one documented person at home, able to be a resource for their entire family.

They will feel free… we will feel free. We are free.

I am angry, because I think about my friend Virginia Gutierrez that was deported when she was attempting to get her car out of the tow yard, she had just been granted a full ride scholarship to study nursing at Arizona State University. I also think of many others who have already been deported, who are over the age of 30, who have a record, who have not completed High School. I think of Joaquin, who committed suicide last year, because he felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. He though he would never reach his dream of becoming an architect.

Mr. President, in your hands was the power to do this and more, long ago. Yes we are thankful that now, we have a victory. However, on your hands in the blood of Joaquin, and the sad fate of many other students, whom its to late for.

Those actions cannot be deferred.

I think of the 13 years I have been fighting for human rights, and of all the effort many people have put into this battle. I think of not eating for days as we hunger strike and fast in prayer, in resistance, in hope. I remember organizing against Proposition 300 in Arizona as if my life depended on it, because it did. I remember the depression I felt as I realized the xenophobia of Arizona voters and “leaders.”

I remember not having a place to live, no money to pay my phone, buy food, or go to the doctor with. I remember the many amazing jobs I had to pass up because I did not have a 9-digit number. I remember being terrified of the police, sheriffs, highway patrol and any other authority figure that could deport me.

I remember going to Washington DC to testify about SB1070 and Dream Act, and meeting with congress people. Telling them what I had been through and that I had Dreams of going to grad school, of making a difference, of being a legislator, a professor, building schools, non-profits…but nothing happened.

Arizona became more hateful, Alabama followed, and many other state promised to make immigrants lives unlivable, in order to push us out of the country.

I am trying to make sense of all this. Political moves, where the fate of many families are at stake. Many celebrate because of the Administrative Relief that students are obtaining, but what about our parents, our aunts and uncles, what about our friends that are already deported, dead, or who dropped (pushed) out? What relief can politics provide for them?

This is a critical, and personal reflection on today’s events. I do celebrate this victory, because I like many Arizonians know, victories are hard to come across. However, we cannot stop here.

We do not only want to work, we want to live.

We want to learn, travel, and vote.


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Ph.D= Positivly Holding it Down!

Truth is I never pictured myself in college during my childhood.

Most of the reason for this was due to the negative messages I would receive about college as an undocumented brown girl.  It was not until I was 13 years-old and met one of my first mentors Dr. Christina Marin then a Ph.D student at Arizona State University, that I learned that Ph.D’s and college was were not only for white/rich people.

Being told that people like me only belong at community colleges and that only people with papers were allowed at the universities gave me the coraje (courage) to fight.  Now, I am thankful for all my trials, because that coraje has taken me to many beautiful and unbelievable places in my 24 years of life.

Currently, I am taking steps towards a doctoral degree…Since Dr. Marin attended to my quinceañera, I have met incredible women and men who are transforming our society in an academic and community rooted level. I want to do both, I want to be an Academic, community centered, ARTivist. Working from a spiritual, personal, political, and cultural place within me. Wherever I go I carry in my heart and honor the stories of my Arizona community.

So to give you all an update on what is happening:

I have applied to various programs in Ethnic Studies, Chicano/a Studies, Sociology, and Education. I pray that the higher path be in front of me, and that it all falls into place. I ask for clarity and direction.

Before I felt like the world was crushing me,

now I feel like this:

blessed be.


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I made it, si se pudo!



(I received the Dean’s Marshall Award from my program, and was honored with a medal from Harvard Graduate School of Education, I was also asked to hold the Masters of Education flag and lead the class during the graduation ceremonies)

I want to say that I am so grateful for all the people who have crossed my path, for my family that allowed me to walk on my own path, and for the blessings God has always given me.

I am thankful that I have a community that supports me and loves me enough to sell food at church, make art, and fundraise in all sorts of ways so that someone from our barrio can graduate from Harvard, despite living with out papeles all of my life I know that if you are determined to go after your dreams you can achieve it.

I dedicate this degree to

-All the people struggling to survive in the shadows of political oppression.

-Students who fight for their education and opportunities.

-My birth and adopted families.

-My Comadres.

-My future generations. 

Sin papeles o con papeles yo voy a  lograr mis sueños.

Nunca dejare que una persona o una ley me haga sentir menos, por no tener documentos, por ser de familia humilde, o por tener piel morena.

Gracias a Dios por mi comunidad y por las ganas que me dio de vivir, estudiar, y luchar.

Gracias a las tantas personas que me hicieron parte de sus familias y me abrieron los brazos cuando necesitaba amor.

Si Se Puede, Si se pudo, y si se podrá!






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View my video, and donate!

I am only $7,000 away from completing my Masters degree at Harvard.  I’m scheduled to graduate in May, 2011 and I need to pay my outstanding balance now.  Your $10, $20, $100 tax-deductible donation will make a difference.  Si se puede!

Please Click on the  Donate button above, and thank you for your support.


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If you missed it! Don Francisco Presenta…

Here is Don Francisco Presenta Video:


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