Gaby Pacheco, the leader of the DREAM youth movement from Miami and one of the co-founders of Students Working for Equal Rights, tells her story in a recent TEDx Talk. Pacheco moved to the United States from Ecuador when she was eight. She grew up a hardworking student who was elected student government president of Miami Dade Community College and the statewide community college student government organization. Along the way she faced many obstacles as an aspiring citizen, from an encounter with the Ku Klux Klan to the inability to find work because of her lack of papers verifying citizenship.
Pacheco didn't let any of that stand in her way. She spent years fighting for undocumented Floridians to have the right to pay in-state tuition. She struggled for the passage of the DREAM Act and continues to do what she can to make sure that immigrants have the ability to pursue the American Dream.
In 2010, she and three friends walked 1,500 miles from Miami to Washington, D.C., to bring to light the plight of immigrants in this country, and to urge President Obama to stop the separation of families and deportation of DREAM Act–eligible youths. This walk was dubbed the Trail of DREAMs.
As political director for the national youth group, United We Dream, she spearheaded efforts that led President Obama to announce the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, one of the biggest changes in immigration policy since the 1986 amnesty.
Watch the full video as Pacheco discusses her struggles in the recent TEDx Talk.