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Daring to DREAM: In Memory of Student Warriors Tam Tran and Cynthia Felix

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I am still a bit in shock from this terrible news. Right now, a memorial service is starting for two brave DREAM Act warriors: Tam and Cynthia. Tam Tran, the beloved DREAM activist who we told you about last year (see email below) passed away in a car crash in Maine, along with fellow “DREAMer” (the term DREAM Act-eligible youth use to describe themselves), Cinthya Felix. You can watch the memorial at UCLA, live-streamed below — please consider donating to the families’ memorial fund.

Or, here’s a video slideshow of Tam and Cynthia if you missed it:


I was lucky to meet up with Cinthya on May 1st in DC, and spend part of the day talking to her about what it was like to attend Columbia University as an undocumented graduate student.  She was vivacious and inspiring. Like Tam, she was going big places — against all odds. Like Tam, she will remain full of life (and full of fight) in the memories of those who knew her.

Prerna Lal writes at Change.org:

Our under-served communities will miss a physician in Cinthya, who was not only a founding member of the undocumented youth group at UCLA (IDEAS), but also the first undocumented student admitted to Columbia University’s School of Public Health in 2007. It was a hard fought battle, especially due to lack of financial resources, yet Cinthya was determined and never backed down. But school wasn’t her passion: it was basketball and serving communities in need.

Tam is probably best known as the DREAM Act student who testified in Congress and had to go into hiding shortly after when ICE retaliated by detaining her parents. She was born to Vietnamese parents in Germany, but neither country would accept her, making her stateless in the United States when she arrived here at the young age of six. Ironically, she was pursuing a PhD in American Studies at Brown with the hope that someday soon this country would recognize her as an American de jure. Yet her real passion was in film-making.