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Dreamer Awareness Month: Scholars in the Making

February 24, 2021

In March, we celebrate DREAMer Awareness Month. The term DREAMer is commonly used by students who have created a movement with the goals of working toward lawful immigration and interrupting socialized ideas and terminology that are often used to describe them, such as illegal, alien, criminal, and so forth. In 2012, the Obama administration provided a reprieve from deportation and initiated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program allows students to apply for a driver's license, social security number, and work permit. Under this program, approximately 680,000 DACA students are attending college and universities in the United States.

The status of DACA has wavered in the courts, and the tumultuous political climate has made students’ lives more difficult, stressful, and fearful especially knowing their fate of deportation is in the hands of political debate. As of June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled the former administration may not immediately proceed with its plan to end the program. Consequently, and with high support from the Biden Administration, the next steps to grant permanent legal status and other protections remain priorities.

At UNC, our scholars in the making have an average GPA of 3.03 and seek majors such as nursing, criminal justice, and human services. Aside from their academic life, they are provided outreach and support through the DREAMer Engagement Program and Undocumented Student Services led by Rudy Vargas. This program offers support by connecting students to other campus services, legal support, DACA renewal services, admissions, financial aid, and scholarship services. Also, Rudy leads DREAMer Zone workshops intended to build awareness around the lived experiences of DREAMers on the UNC campus.

Take Action:

  1. Attend the DREAMer Awareness Month events, including Undocu-Monologues, on March 4. President Feinstein and Jesse Tijerina, director of cultural excellence and parent programming with District 6 will provide live autobiographical readings.
  2. Learn more about the diverse and intersectional identities of DREAMers such as Undocublack and Undocuqueer.
  3. Donate to the UNC Dreamer/DACA fund. One-time or recurring gifts are accommodated.
  4. Know the basic rights and civil rights laws to help students navigate situations they or their families may encounter.
  5. Move our country forward and transform our immigration and criminal justice systems through Fwd.org an organization that seeks to grow and galvanize political support to achieve meaningful reforms.
  6. Help undocumented students who are interested in graduate school by reading the guide provided here.
  7. Know how to assist undocumented individuals as they navigate life after college.
  8. Connect with the UNC DREAMer Engagement Program through Instagram.

Many of our scholars in the making are motivated, determined, and have the willpower to make la familia proud. In return, this willpower reveals a vision they didn't believe was possible.

We look forward to this month of educational events, celebration, and learning. For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, please find other sources located under DDEI Education and Resources on the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion site and UNC Libraries under DEI & Antiracism Resources.