Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Story of Self: Daniela Castro

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
― Audre Lorde

Joining Act on a Dream was choosing visibility. Being an undocumented student with DACA, I was conditioned to hide some of my truths from others because of their stigmatization. Holding onto pockets of fear as a first-year, I entered into my first AOD space in Greys Hall, where I met other students with a close connection to immigration. With time, I was going to AOD events and joined board as the co-advocacy chair. I did not have prior experience with what advocacy meant, but I soon unraveled the courage within to speak at rallies, protests, and to lobby in support of legislation. I learned that as an advocate, your voice does not float on its own, but also carries the resounding weight of the community, demanding to be heard. By connecting with others and reading on my own about the history of immigration, I have come to contextualize its realities in a more nuanced way, which does not hold me captive to its bearing on my life. I, and many other undocumented people in the U.S., are living examples of the harm that has been done to our countries of origin, reinforced by histories of colonialism, imperialism, and white supremacy. Now, as the co-director of Act on a Dream, I only hope that my leadership can help to further the understanding that the right to migrate should not be policed. 

AOD has taught me what it means to be a part of a community. I have amazing friends and know what it feels like to be supported by others. 

Outside of co-directing Act on a Dream, I am a student officer for the Phillips Brooks House Association as the Community Organizing Chair. I also volunteer for the Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment (BRYE) program as a tutor for middle school students in Dorchester, MA and mentor high school students leading social justice projects through Radcliffe’s Emerging Leaders Program. In my spare time, I love to journal, write poetry, take walks by the Charles river, and strum my guitar. 


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