Women are Dreamers and DACA Recipients
Mary J. Montes, Executive Board Member of the Greater Fort Wayne Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, joins host Stephanie Gottesman to share her story as a Dreamer and DACA recipient, her passion for community outreach, and the work the GFW Hispanic Chamber of Commerce does to strengthen networks and create opportunities for the Fort Wayne Hispanic and Latino communities.
Immigration issues have been in the news a lot over the last few years, and the debate has often centered on Dreamers, a term that has been used to describe young undocumented or unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, who have lived and gone to school here, and who in many cases identify as American. The term Dreamer originally took its name from a bill in Congress, but it has a double meaning about the young immigrants who have big hopes and dreams for a better future. The bill, called the DREAM Act (short for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act), would have granted legal status to certain undocumented and unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and went to school here. Although several versions of the bill have been introduced in Congress since 2001, it’s never passed. While the media tends to paint dramatic and often exaggerated pictures of who DREAMers are, few news stories give an actual window into the lives of the real people who have lived this experience, and with somewhere between 690,000 and 800,000 DREAMers in America, that’s a lot of underrepresented stories.
In addition to her role on the board of the GFW Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Montes is an also on boards for Parkview Health, Whitington Homes & Family Services, and the Salvation Army. She has an Associates Degree in criminal justice, and is currently finishing up a BA in organizational leadership.
Montes also happens to be a Dreamer. Her parents brought her to America just after 9/11 from Peru. She shares her memories of arriving in America, moving to Fort Wayne, and the gratitude she has for the opportunities she has found here compared to the place she was born. She also shares the unique set of hardships and challenges that unauthorized immigrants face, and the relief that DACA gave her and her family. She shares some of her academic and professional journey, and some of the ways she has worked to help other immigrants through their own struggles.
Montes shares a bit of background and history about the GFW Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and some of the ways people can get involved in their efforts to connect Hispanic and Latino business owners to each other and to the rest of the Fort Wayne business community. For information on the GFW Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, visit their website at www.fwhispanicchamber.org. They are also on Facebook.
This episode’s song, Mano a Mano, is by KelsiCote. Singer-songwriters, Kelsi Lee & Cote Godoy bridge distinct cultural roots forming a fresh sound uniquely their own. Their musical explorations daringly fuse styles and rhythms of North and South America with lyrical interplay in modern Greek, American English and Chilean Spanish. High energy live performances invite listeners on a dynamic and unforgettable adventure of music and story-telling. For the upturned ear, and searching heart, reflections on Life - alive with purpose. KelsiCote Amig@s full band format includes phenomenal international musicians from both North and South America. Kelsi and Cote also produce an early childhood educational enrichment program that promotes inclusion through music, cultural immersion, and bilingual learning. You can find their music at www.kelsicote.com, or on Spotify, Facebook, and CDBaby, and you can find their educational program at www.musicalconexion.com.
Women Are: Fort Wayne is a production of Monstrous Regiment Media and distributed by WBOI in Fort Wayne. Our show is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne and Silverbirch Entertainment. This episode was written and produced by Stephanie Gottesman and Traci Henning-Kolberg, and edited by Adam Blackburn. Our episodes are recorded at Silverbirch Studio, with an extra thank you to sound engineer Steve Tyler and assistant engineer, Harrison Tyler.
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