Sometimes your journey comes full circle! We were excited to connect with Hans, a Filipino American DACA recipient who has been involved with Immigrants Rising for a long time.
How did you get connected to Immigrants Rising?
When I first connected with Immigrants Rising (back when it was called Educators for Fair Consideration), I was still in high school and just beginning to navigate the complexities of being undocumented. I struggled a lot after learning that I was undocumented, but thankfully, the people around me knew to point me to Immigrants Rising.
And how are you still involved with Immigrants Rising?
Today, I am proud to be an Immigrants Rising donor and to help other undocumented young people reach their potential, and I highly encourage folks to join me in supporting Immigrants Rising.
What keeps you motivated to stay involved with Immigrants Rising?
I could have simply left Immigrants Rising after getting my questions answered all those years ago, but as I got to know the organization better, I realized the people who made it all possible were undocumented like me and pouring their heart and soul into the work. I got to connect with other undocumented API folks, and was able to build an inclusive community that brought me a sense of belonging.
Can you share more about the community that you were able to build with Immigrants Rising?
Immigrants Rising has been—and still is—there for me on my journey of growth. At the height of escalated anti-Asian violence, the UndocuAPI support group was there for me; I learned how to code switch between my life personally and life in corporate America, and connecting with other UndocuAPI folks helped my mental health in ways I did not know I needed.
It’s very encouraging to hear all of this! How have you been able to grow and develop your connections to the community?
During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in 2021, I served on Immigrants Rising’s host committee to uplift and celebrate other UndocuAPI folks. I performed my spoken word titled “Just Won’t Do,” which highlights aspects of my upbringing and calls for unification in uplifting the immigrant community. It has since transformed into the foundation for the first project of my nonprofit Help Out More, with the goal of raising funds for Immigrants Rising to continue to support the undocumented community.
Seeing our community come together in joy rather than struggle fills me with an overwhelming sense of fulfillment, and I now know this is the type of impact I want to create in this world.
What are you able to take away from your involvement with Immigrants Rising?
My time with Immigrants Rising has taught me equitable opportunities start with people like you and me. I’m paying it forward so that down the line, undocumented young people have even more opportunities created by people who understand their trials and tribulations.
Maraming Salamat, Hans! We’re excited to have been part of this special journey with you. Be sure to check out Hans’ spoken word here.