Viridiana was born in Michoacan, Mexico and immigrated with her family to the United States when she was 11 years old. Viridiana began her journey as an immigrant activist in 2004, when she learned how her immigration status would hinder her opportunities and access to higher education. That same year, as a high school student, she co-founded Cambiando Tu Futuro, a grassroots organization, dedicated to organizing and informing undocumented students of their rights and access to higher education in the state of Texas. Viridiana continued her advocacy and organizing efforts at the University of Texas at Austin where she graduated with honors and received her degree in Spanish Literature and Communications. For six years, Viridiana led Teach For America’s efforts to recruit and place teachers with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in classrooms throughout the country. Through her leadership, the program recruited over 240 DACAmented educators who are teaching in 22 cities across 11 states. Viridiana has been recognized by such organizations like the League of United American Citizens (LULAC) and the Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for her leadership and dedication to the immigration community. After 14 years, she became a US citizen in 2016 and currently resides in San Antonio, TX.
Vanessa Luna is a 2014 Teach for America alumni and DACAmented educator who has taught in Los Angeles and New York City. Vanessa immigrated to the United States at the age of 10 from Lima, Peru and has lived in the United States for 16 years. As a student, she was afraid to share her story and hid her undocumented status due to fears of being unwelcomed and even deported. Despite these fears, she was granted opportunity and was the first one in her family to go to college. When she received her DACA in 2013, she applied to Teach for America to become an educator. As a corps member, she witnessed the impact immigration continued to have on the students and parents she served. Vanessa received a Master’s in Urban Education and Policy from Loyola Marymount University and was awarded the Urban Education Student Researcher of the Year for her master thesis titled "The Fear of Deportation: The Effects of the Threat of Deportation and Mexican Youth ’s Views of their Community." Vanessa worked with various organizations in the San Fernando Valley and in NYC to provide immigration services for parents and families holding immigration clinics and sessions throughout the school year. She currently resides in New York.