Lorena Medel

Inclusion & Change Group, Scholar

"I am not defined by my immigration status. I am a human being with dreams and goals."

Lorena Medel graduated from Contra Costa College and is currently an undergraduate at San Francisco State University. She has been part of Immigrants Rising’s I4IC (Immigrants for Inclusion and Change) group since 2015, and was accepted into the New American Scholars Program in 2016.


What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of coming here as an immigrant, and learning the language, getting in, and currently taking classes at San Francisco State. That for me is a huge accomplishment because it has cost me a lot of effort and sacrifices, but still I’m here, I’m passionate about my dreams, and I want them to come true. I’m not giving up despite the political environment that we are in right now.


How did you first find out about our organization?

When I was at Contra Costa College, one of my friends told me about the Immigrants for Inclusion and Change group at E4FC [Educators for Fair Consideration, now known as Immigrants Rising.]. I started attending the meetings and found a safe place to be me.


What are some of your favorite memories?

We used to take pictures of ourselves wearing a superhero costume. I took a picture with me and my son from The Incredibles. When we took those pictures, it made me believe all the positive things that I have. I realized that I am not defined by my immigration status. I am a human being with dreams and goals.

I looked back to the past, and see that 10 years ago I didn’t speak English. I didn’t have an Associate’s degree, or any support group that made me believe you can have an education here in the United States. Then I looked at myself taking a picture with my son, and speaking English, taking classes, and having a support group. I said, “Wow!”

I’ve been inspired by E4FC so I’m starting a group in Richmond to inform people where they can have information and resources. In my daily life, if I meet a person who is struggling because of their immigration status, I don’t have any doubt about giving that person the information about E4FC.


What are your hopes for our organization and community?

We need more E4FCs in different places. We’re so lucky to have you here, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t have this guidance and support.

That’s why it’s important that people support E4FC just by spreading the word, giving a conference, anything, so that it will make the difference in the lives of other people. All that I wish for E4FC is just health and energy. Thank you so much for everything that you do for us.