Cristina Jiménez—immigration reform advocate, MacArthur Foundation “genius award” Fellow, and founder and CEO of the nation’s largest immigrant youth-led organization—will speak at Washington College on Tuesday, April 16. She will share the powerful story of her own journey, from arriving in the US at age 13 as an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, to her current role in the forefront of the global conversation on immigration. In 2018, Time magazine named Jiménez one of the “100 most influential people” in the world.
The program begins at 5:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall. Hosted by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the event is free and open to the public. This event is the inaugural program in the Starr Center’s series “Crossing Cultures,” an initiative that seeks to foster informed dialogue on immigration, migration, intercultural exchange, and their impact on American life.
“At a moment when discussions of immigration and migration are dominated by soundbites, half-truths, and social-media hits, it’s more essential than ever to seek informed perspectives and engage in thoughtful civic conversation,” said Adam Goodheart, the Starr Center’s Hodson Trust-Griswold Director. “We’re excited to welcome Cristina Jiménez as the first of a diverse array of guests in the timely new Crossing Cultures series.”
Cristina Jiménez is the co-founder and executive director of the United We Dream (UWD). She has organized immigrant youth and workers for the passage of pro-immigrant policies at the local and national levels for over a decade. As undocumented immigrants, she and her family experienced poverty, abuse by police, wage theft from employers, and fear of deportation.
Her story is similar to those of United We Dream members across the country who struggle every day to overcome the forces of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, and who ultimately learn to thrive. Jiménez will discuss how those closest to the pain are closest to the solution and how immigrant youth have transformed politics to create an empowered generation.
From a young age, Jiménez made a decision to fight back against unjust practices that plagued people of color and the immigrant community. As an adult, she was instrumental in organizing the successful national campaign that led to the creation and implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program (DACA). Under Jiménez’s leadership, United We Dream has grown to a powerful network of 48 affiliates in 26 states and over 400,000 members.
Jiménez has received several high-profile awards and honors, including Forbes’s “30 under 30 in Law and Policy;” and “40 under 40 Young Leaders Who are Solving Problems of Today and Tomorrow” by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Prior to her work at UWD, Jiménez co-founded the New York State Youth Leadership Council, and the Dream Mentorship Program at Queens College. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and Public Policy from the School of Public of Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY.
Established in 2000, Washington College’s Starr Center explores the American experience in all its diversity and complexity, seeks creative approaches to illuminating the past, and inspires thoughtful conversation informed by history. Jiménez’s talk is cosponsored by the Department of History, Program in American Studies, Department of Modern Languages, Hispanic Studies, Black Studies, Department of Education, Cleopatra’s Sisters, Día de Futbol, the Department of Political Science, Department of Sociology, and the Office of Intercultural Affairs.
About Washington College
Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 39 states and territories and 25 nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.