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El Mundo Boston 2018.

REINA GUEVARA

Winner of The TJX Companies Latino 30 under 30 Award

Development Director, Student Immigrant Movement

Age: 28

Heritage: Salvadoran 

 

Notable Accomplishments: 

  • Boston Foundation Fellowship

  • Resolution from the Boston City Council

  • Certificate from the Women’s Pipeline for Change Cohort 

  • Immigrant Achievers Scholarship 

  • Osher Foundation Reentry Scholarship

  • Pearl Foundation Anniversary Scholarship

  • Charles J. Hoff Leadership Scholarship

 

Reina Guevara was born in El Salvador. At the age of eleven, she migrated from her home country to reunite with her mother after being separated during the Civil War in El Salvador. After experiencing and witnessing the horrible treatment that the immigrant population receives in the United States, she decided to join a grassroots organization called The Student Immigrant Movement (SIM). SIM is the first grassroots organization in Massachusetts created for and by undocumented youth. 

 

As an organizer, Reina believes in the power that young immigrants have to challenge institutions that often tend to leave people of color out. She recognizes that this requires training in civic and radical education. It is necessary to build a culture in which young immigrants can feel safe and heard.

 

In 2017, after Trump became president, Reina decided to join SIM as their new Development Director. Over the past two years, she has fundraised over $500,000 for the programs and training to develop youth leadership in the community. She has collected funds through a grant and individual donations to help Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients renew their DACA. Reina's story was told in Congress by Elizabeth Warren in September 2017 after DACA was revoked; This was a statement claiming that, even without DACA, she would no longer feel ashamed or afraid of her immigration status.

 

Currently, Reina is a senior at the University of Massachusetts studying Philosophy & Public Policy, and pursuing a minor in Philosophy of Law. At UMass, she has received many scholarships for her academic acomplishments and mentorship to other undocumented students. After graduating from UMass, Reina wants to continue her education and study immigration laws to further help her immigrant community with legal services. One day she would like to return to her home country and run for office. She believes there is a lot of work to be done in the political sector.

 

For Reina, being Latina means more than just claiming a background, it means understanding the roots of Latinidad. As part of a community that's continually growing, she wants to make sure that Latinos are part of every decision made in institutions of power and lead the way for future generations to have a better society to live.