Diana immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 1998 when she was just eleven years old. She came with her mother and sister. They were in search of what most immigrants come to the U.S. in search of — the great American dream.
Adjusting to life in the U.S. hasn’t been easy for Diana. Everything here is different, from the food available at the grocery store, to the language barrier, to navigating the health care system. It’s been a constant challenge.
“I have seen a lot of changes — a lot of racism that is still going on, especially over the last couple of years,” says Diana.
“I come from a very small place in Mexico where we help each other out…and I think we forget to do that here. Something happens to a neighbor and we tend to look away. We live in a country where everything goes by so fast....We need to do something. It’s so sad how people are being treated, and the racist attacks like in El Paso.”
Diana began to feel the strong pull of needing to get involved — to become a leader and an activist. But she wasn’t sure where to start.
“I think one of my responsibilities as an immigrant is to do something — not only for me but for the community.”
Last year, Diana heard about our then brand new program at Adelante Mujeres — The Immigrant Solidarity Project. She enrolled and started absorbing the weekly workshops like a sponge.
“I got to learn more about our rights. I got to learn about how to fight for others. We had meetings every Thursday and every class was a new subject.”
"I learned how to help people make a family emergency plan, and about immigration resources that support families who have been detained by ICE. I also learned how to respond to any ICE encounters".
During the Immigrant Solidarity Project workshops, Diana and the other participants learned about different ways to help the community. They learned how to knock on doors, hand out information and resources, and they learned about their rights.
“There’s a lot of things that the community doesn’t know if you aren’t involved in these classes,” says Diana.
Diana now facilitates Know Your Rights workshops, attends marches and rallies, and speaks with government representatives. She was also an active participant in past campaigns against Measure 105 and for the Equal Access to Roads Act. In fact, participants from last year’s Immigrant Solidarity Project cohort have reached over 500 families.
Diana recently helped her neighbor who was afraid to go to court due to ICE’s presence there. She brought her neighbor resources and helped her connect with people and organizations that could help her.
She says her volunteer work makes her feel satisfied and more hopeful about the future.
Although her focus is on supporting the Latino immigrant community, Diana wants to support all immigrants, no matter where they are from.
“I think we all come to this country to follow our dreams and to have a better life for our kids. So it’s not only my dream that I’m fighting for, but it’s all of the other dreams.”
This year, Adelante Mujeres will be expanding the Immigrant Solidarity Project so that more people like Diana can become empowered leaders and community activists.
Diana’s future plans are to keep fighting for a just society for all, including work on Public Charge.
“We are learning to defend ourselves, and we should keep going. I’m going to keep going and learning more, and going to rallies, and attending more workshops.”
"We should empower one-another and educate ourselves because the future of our children depend on what we do now, and for what we fight for now".
You can support our Immigrant Solidarity Project to help more women like Diana become leaders.