Student demonstrators Reflect on RNC, Gear up for DNC

NORWALK — It took the death of her 16-year-old brother for her parents to obtain residency here.

Her father, from Ecuador, and mother, from Mexico, were undocumented immigrants struggling to obtain residency for years.

“Such a harsh thing had to happen to us for them to be recognized, and for them to be given this dignity to obtain documentation,” said Katherine Villeda, a 19-year-old Stamford resident. “I just don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think you should have to go through a crime, or get hurt, to get documented.”

That was one of a handful of stories of injustice that grew inside Villeda ever since she was a little girl. While she was born a citizen, Villeda recalls being criticized by an elementary school teacher for missing school to attend a rally for immigrant rights. She’s heard people say immigrants like her parents are stealing jobs, when her father has had to pay taxes, but has been unable to reap the benefits of government support.

This January, she joined CT Students for a Dream, or C4D, and found an outlet for her emotions. She has attended a handful of rallies so far, from Hartford to Washington, D.C., advocating for immigration reform. And now, this Monday she will be driving up with 17 other Connecticut students, many undocumented immigrants and all part of C4D, to rally at the Democratic National Convention. Two Norwalk residents, Laura Veira and Sofia Ornelas will also be in attendance.

Read the entire article featuring grantee Connecticut Students for a Dream here. 

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