tam-cinthya.jpgTwo DREAM Act activists, Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, were killed over the weekend in a car accident in Trenton, Maine. Both Felix and Tran grew up in Southern California and graduated from UCLA, where they were active in the DREAM Act fight. Felix went on to attend Columbia University’s School of Public Health, and was widely believed to be the first undocumented student admitted to the program. Tran was one of the most active leaders of the immigrant rights and DREAM Act movement, catapulted to national prominence when she testified before Congress in 2007 on behalf of the DREAM Act. Three days later, her family was thrown into the immigration debate when ICE arrived at their Garden Grove home before dawn and arrested and detained her family. Tran organized a public campaign to have them released. Since then, both Tran and Felix pursued graduate degrees while staying active in the DREAM Act movement. Kent Wont, a faculty advisor of theirs at UCLA and an editor of Underground Undergrads: UCLA Undocumented Immigrant Students Speak Out gave a moving tribute at a memorial service for Felix and Tran yesterday:
Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix were women of extraordinary capacity. They were brilliant, compassionate, beautiful, and full of life and energy. They were gifted scholars and committed leaders and activists. Both had boundless energy, and enjoyed life to its fullest. Tam and Cinthya both came from humble origins, from immigrant families, from working class communities of color. Tam and Cinthya were undocumented immigrants, victims of a broken immigration system that force many immigrants to live a life in the shadows. But Tam and Cinthya never lived their lives in the shadows. Their courage, their determination, their spirit were an inspiration to us all. And they were leading advocates for passage of the DREAM Act to provide rights for millions of undocumented immigrant youth and students throughout the country. And in their honor and memory, we will pass the DREAM Act soon, very soon.
On message boards and in the sprawling comments sections of news updates, activists are echoing each others’ statements: “Let’s finish the fight for them.”
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