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Speaker Bios: Cristina Jimenez, Gabriela Pacheco, Adey Fisseha, Carlos Saavedra, Jorge Gutierrez, and Erin Howard

Cristina Jimenez

Cristina Jiménez is the Managing Director of the United We Dream Network, the national youth-led organizing network that promotes immigrant youth access to legal status and equal access to educational opportunities. She is a co-founder of the Network and served as chair of the Board of Directors for the past 2 years. Cristina has organized immigrant youth and workers for the passage of the DREAM Act, comprehensive immigration reform, and pro-immigrant legislation at the local and national level since 2004.

Cristina co-founded the New York State Youth Leadership Council, was an immigration policy consultant for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and an immigrant rights organizer at the Latin American Integration Center, now merged as Make the Road New York. She holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from the School of Public of Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Business from Queens College, CUNY. Her awards include the Queens College's Student Activities Award and New York City Council Proclamation for Outstanding Service to the Latino Community. Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Cristina migrated to United States at the age of 13, attending high school and college as an undocumented student.

 

Gabriela Pacheco

Gaby Pacheco is an undocumented student leader from Miami, Florida who wants to be a musical therapist and work with people with autism and Down syndrome. She has an AA in Music Ed. AS in Early Childhood education, and a BA in Special Education K-12.
In 2010, she walked 1,500 miles in support of the DREAM Act, to bring to light the plight of immigrants in this country, and to urge President Obama to stop the separations of families and deportations of DREAM act eligible youth; this walk was dubbed the Trail of DREAMs. She currently is the END (Education not Deportation) Project National Coordinator for the United We Dream Network. END is a project that seeks to stop the deportation of DREAM Act eligible youth by highlighting their stories and galvanizing support from the community. You can find out more at endourpain.com

Adey Fisseha, Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center/DREAM Campaign Coordinator
Ms. Fisseha monitors, analyzes, and makes recommendations regarding federal legislative developments affecting immigrants, particularly in the area of immigration law.  Immediately prior to rejoining NILC in the fall of 2008, she was a fellow at Manhattan Legal Services, representing low-income New Yorkers in consumer debt issues.  Before attending law school, she was a NILC policy analyst (2000–05) and, prior to that, a legislative aide to Rep. Howard Berman.  She holds a juris doctor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

 

Carlos Saavedra

Carlos Saavedra has been organizing in the immigrant community for many years.  As an immigrant from Peru, he has seen first-hand the hardships faced by immigrants in Massachusetts.  For years Carlos has been part of campaign efforts to ensure that immigrant students in Massachusetts are able to fulfill their dreams of a college education and a better future. In 2005, Carlos was hired as a student organizer for the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA).  While at MIRA, he organized immigrant students across the state and helped found the independent Student Immigrant Movement (SIM).

In 2008, Carlos assumed the role of Executive Director of SIM, which advocates for equal rights for the immigrant community. Under his leadership, SIM launched and succeeded in their 10 out of 10 Campaign – a campaign that aimed at getting the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation to co-sponsor the DREAM Act.

 

Jorge Gutierrez

Jorge Gutierrez is Queer, Undocumented and Unafraid. He was born in El Cora, Nayarit, Mexico and immigrated to California at the age of 10. Jorge received his B.A. in English from California State University, Fullerton in 2008. He is part of the Orange County DREAM Team and it was in this organizing space that Jorge was politicized and empowered to participate in a hunger strike and a civil disobedience action in DC.

Jorge also helped to create DeColores Queer Orange County in order to create intentional spaces for Queer and Undocumented immigrant youth. He understands the importance of making our dream movement inclusive in order to empower Queer Undocumented youth across the nation. He is also a member of the National Coordinating Committee.

 

Erin Howard

Erin has a Master’s of Art degree in Hispanic, Latin American and Latino American Literature from the University of Tennessee, a Bachelor’s degree in Arts from Tennessee Technological University and spent her senior year of college at la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Heredia in Costa Rica where she studied literature, international business, globalization and immigration issues affecting Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Erin serves as a volunteer Child Ambassador for World Vision and mentors other Child Ambassadors through her role as an Area Manager living in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.  She has helped raise funds through child sponsorship for over 45 communities world wide which World Vision supports through community development empowering children and their communities to reach their full potential and self-sufficiency by tackling the root causes of poverty and oppression.  Erin has traveled to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Mexico to see the programs first hand and to learn from communities about their approaches to youth empowerment through civic engagement (Costa Rica) and the arts (Mexico and Dominican Republic).

Erin is married to Mark Howard and has a miniature dachshund named Pablo. She is a retired competitive gymnast, loves fitness and most sports, and is a self-taught artist in the mediums of oil, acrylics and oil pastels.