The Power of Dreams

By Stefani Davila - Feature Story

March 31st, 2021 at 6:00 P.M. EST.  

 

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     “It is definitely scary growing up being undocumented; you live in a state of uncertainty and caution knowing that, at any time, your life can completely be turned upside-down” Nataly Chalco said.

     Nataly, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, has been an activist for the rights of immigrant and undocumented communities for the past three years. Nataly came to the United States when she was just six years old. She was born in Peru, but she grew up in Broward County, Florida. The first years of her life were not easy. Besides going through the adaptation process to the language and new culture, she and her family had to overcome the obstacles derived from being undocumented immigrants. Even so, her parents always made sure that Nataly and her brother had everything to fight for their dreams. Their parents gave them a supportive home, helped them with their decisions, and motivated them to continue with their studies. Their immigration status in the country was never hidden from her. According to Nataly, she grew up with the fear of the police, not wanting to speak Spanish in public and just because of their status, even being afraid of driving as undocumented immigrants are not granted driver licenses.

     

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-31 at 5.23.24 PM.

Photo by Stefani Davila

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-31 at 5.23.24 PM-

Photo by Stefani Davila

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-31 at 5.23.24 PM-

Photo by Stefani Davila

     Being raised as an undocumented Latina in a country that overlooks the work and value of marginalized groups, Nataly was inspired to fight for her community and offer hope to those who have undergone similar immigration experienes. When USCIS began accepting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications on August 15, 2012, her life changed. Thanks to the family's efforts to save money for the application expenses, her brother could apply. Eventually, Nataly was also able to complete her application for the program and went from being afraid of living without documents to developing a great willpower, which would allow her to carry out changes within the immigrant community.

     During the 2018 midterm elections, Nataly joined United We Dream, the nation's largest immigrant youth-led network that fights for social justice and dignity for all immigrants. Nataly started as a canvassing volunteer for Amendment 4. Later, she began participating and supporting various events such as peaceful protests and advocacy, making her move up within the organization. Currently, she is serving as a youth organizer for UWD Florida. "I fell in love with the job and knew from there that community organizing was where my heart was," Nataly said. Her work and commitment are admirable. especially because the reason for wanting to serve her community are due to her own history and experiences as an undocumented person. 
 

     Nataly, a Dreamer and light of hope for many young people, has a message for those undocumented students who still do not know the potential they have: “You have to understand that you are more powerful than any harsh word that people can say about you, and we need to use this energy to fight for our communities. We need to fight for the human rights that we deserve and only then we can win together.”

For more information about United We Dream and how you can join their efforts in the fight for immigrant reform, visit Urbana's advocacy page.

Stefani Davila

Stefani Davila is a freshman student majoring in business administration who is also pursuing a college credit certificate in business management at the Miami Dade Honors College, Eduardo J. Padrón campus. Stefani, values community service very much, which is why she is a volunteer and an active photographer in “Fundación Jóvenes Contra el Cáncer” in Ecuador and United We Dream. Stefani likes to design posters or advertisements for different subjects. She also writes poetry, draws, and continuously work in developing the base for her photography business. She is currently a new editor, writer, and photographer for Urbana Literary & Arts volume XIV. Stefani is always looking for new opportunities and tries to take advantage of them in order to learn something new and improve her different skills.

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