#66: Rocio Lopez – A Product Designer & a DACA Recipient is Standing Up for All DREAMers

Rocio Lopez came to the U.S. as an undocumented minor and lived on the East Side of Palo Alto. For years, she and her family have gone through so much struggle until the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA was signed by President Obama, a program granting temporary work permits to immigrants who came to the U.S. as children illegally.

Recently, DACA, has been repealed by the Trump administration. And Rocio is one of the 800,000 DREAMers that are going to be affected by this decision.

The average DACA recipient is 26 years old who came to the U.S. at 6 years. 91% are employed, and 100% have no criminal record. They pay $500 to renew every two years and contribute $800 M per year to the government.

Rocio is a Product Designer and an amazing speaker. She considers herself an American who is willing to die for her country. But why is America trying to persecute her along with other hundreds of thousands of DREAMers? Now is the time for you to show you care.

We hope for you to bring two takeaways from this episode:

1. Meet other DREAMers.
2. Make sure you call your members of Congress to pass the DREAM Act over the next six months.

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Years in Tech5
Lives In:East Palo Alto, CA
Current JobProduct Designer
Date Recorded9/8/2017

Show Notes:

[03:00] Rocio illustrates what a Product Designer does, specifically her role in the big data analytics space and high-end designing.

[04:35] What is DACA? Rocio describes her life before DACA. Being undocumented, you have no access to things – phone, federal loans, credit history, driver’s license, education, etc. Rocio shares how DACA has opened some doors of opportunities to her.

[08:44] Rocio talks about the struggles her family went through and the implications if the DREAM Act doesn’t get passed. What happens to her legal status? Find out why she thinks this is a moral question.

[16:14] Why Rocio feels she is both directly and indirectly persecuted – a lot of false statements are being thrown around against DREAMers.

[21:32] After graduating from Columbia, Rocio came back to Silicon Valley doing freelance work. She talks about how she got her first corporate designer job after receiving DACA.

[27:40] Shout out to Cristina who was her mentor from middle school through college and helped her every step of the way. You too can get involved with organizations like iMentor and StreetCode Academy.

[33:36] How this decision on DACA greatly impacted Rocio mentally and how she seeks to overcome it by being very present and optimistic. Don’t lose hope!

[38:40] Rocio talks about overcoming microaggression with empathy. She encourages you to learn more about what’s real and unreal – meet other DREAMers and call Congress.

[44:40] Here’s what you can tell Congress. Check out https://app.fwd.us/letters to connect with your representative and show your support for the DREAM Act.

[48:05] Rocio’s actionable message to everyone: Speak up and go out of the bubble. And the importance of being human and caring for people.

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