Dulce Matuz: From DREAMer to world renowned activist

Source: KTAR News

By:  COOPER RUMMELL

KTAR News is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have influenced and enriched our community in a positive way. This week KTAR News presents profiles of five Arizonans who have become difference-makers in our state. This is part 2 of a 5 part series.

dulce

Dulce Matuz came to America as an undocumented immigrant when she was 15-years-old.

In just over a decade, she helped found one of the state’s most prolific DREAMer’s rights organizations and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

“I came here because I wanted to be with my mom, it’s as simple as that,” Matuz said. “I wanted to be with my family and my mom came here because she wanted to give me a better life.”

Matuz attended Carl Hayden Community High School just west of downtown Phoenix. She learned English and developed a passion for electrical engineering after joining the school’s robotics team.

Two of her mentors at school encouraged the teen to apply for college at Arizona State University.

“It became a great challenge when I started filling out my application and one of the questions is ‘What is your social (security number),’” she said.

The university did accept the young immigrant but she faced continued legal and financial challenges as state laws were getting stricter for those who were undocumented.

Eventually, Matuz met with a small group of students who were facing the same challenges she was facing.

“At first it was just basic conversations like, ‘How do you open a bank account’ or ‘How do you file your tax returns,’” she said.

Those meetings lead to the creation of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, which Matuz helped co-found. The ADAC currently fights for higher education equality while promoting a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“We can’t continue to be the Arizona that is divisive, anti-immigrant, and anti-Latino,” she said. “We have to be inclusive especially when most of the students from K through 12 are Latino.”

Matuz continues to be a vibrant voice in the ADAC as she continues her own journey to soon become a U.S. citizen.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s