Author Archives: stacey wright

Defending DACA in Washington DC – A Personal Perspective

Defending DACA in Washington DC – A Personal Perspective

On September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a program that dramatically changed the lives of 800,000 young adults, including myself. They call us Dreamers. We grew up in America, went to school in America, and live our lives as Americans. In our hearts, we are Americans. The only difference is that we were not born in America.

In the last five years, DACA allowed me to pursue my American Dream, it allowed me to finally come out of the shadows and embrace my identity as an American and as an immigrant. It allowed me, for the first time, to start a professional career with employment options and be financially independent. DACA gave me the freedom to pursue my dreams, just like any other American.

Sadly, all of that can be taken away if the Dream Act is not passed by Congress. A Dream Act would give people like me—the Dreamers—a pathway to citizenship.

If the Dream Act does not pass, I lose my DACA status and my worker permit will expire. Once my worker permit expires, I will no longer be able to legally work in the country I call home. I will no longer have a job—a job I am passionate about—or be financially independent. I will be forced to leave my community and no longer be an advocate for the Latino community members who call Telluride home. I will lose my driver’s license, and go back to being an undocumented immigrant, subject to deportation by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. These are the fears Dreamers are faced with if the Dream Act doesn’t get passed.

Through my work as the Cultural Navigator with Tri-County Health Network, I was connected to Colorado staff for FWD, an organization that works on immigration policy at the Federal level. FWD invited me to travel to Washington DC twice to advocate for passing a clean Dream Act. I met with Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, Congressman Mike Coffman, Representative Jared Polis, Congressman Ken Buck, and Congresswoman Diana DeGette to share my story. On my way to these meetings, my emotions were all over the spectrum—I felt anxious, excited, nervous, and proud. It was highly emotional. I shared my personal DACA story with my United States Senators and Representatives and felt empowered to speak my truth on the impact the DACA policy has had on my life for the past five years.

FWD helped me get in front of those politicians and other leaders. They gave DACA recipients like me a sense of all the other Dreamers from around the country, many of whom are like me and work as advocates for all Dreamers. I did not feel alone. We were all there to share our stories and make our voices heard and joining together to ask Congress to listen, act, and pass a clean Dream Act. This experience was uplifting because it gave me the courage to speak out and share my story. It was also inspiring to learn I am not the only one fighting this fight—there are 800,000 DACA recipients, and every day their stories inspire me to continue to advocate for myself and for them.

During my second trip to DC in January there was an announcement that Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered a halt to the federal government’s termination of the DACA program. Alsup granted a preliminary injunction, a temporary order while the case goes forward, and requiring that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services begin accepting DACA renewal applications again. This was an important victory, but Congress must still make the protections permanent through the bipartisan Dream Act. I don’t want to feel like I have an expiration date on me, counting down the days until I fall out of status. It is important to have a permanent solution and give all the Dreamers like me peace of mind.

Bringing Dreamers’ voices to DC has given me the strength to continue to share my DACA story to everyone I encounter and educate citizens on why the Dream Act needs to get passed. A Dream Act will allow me, and nearly a million others, to continue to live our America Dream. We are undocumented, unapologetic, and unafraid.

By Claudia Garcia, Cultural Navigator

Skippy+ and Beyond!

Tri-County Health Network’s Skippy dental program has grown up since we started our mobile, in-school services in 2008. Our original scope of work was to bring licensed dental hygienists into the school and let them work at the top of their licensure: cleaning, identifying potential cavities or other concerns, and educating the kids about how… Continue Reading

Yippy Skippy!

After a brief winter hibernation, Skippy is well rested and back in action for the Spring semester. With all the planning and coordination that Skippy requires it doesn’t even feel like it ever stopped, for me anyway. That’s probably because of the new enhancements the program is piloting this Spring semester. Haven’t you heard? Lots… Continue Reading

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

The room was completely quiet—a surprise given the variety of people in attendance. Teachers, advocates, counselors, and elected officials are often not left speechless. At least one person was visibly crying and the rest were on the verge of tears. There were 8 of us together for an all-day Youth Mental Health First Aid training.… Continue Reading

Getting Past Public Speaking Anxiety

We surveyed the block before we turned. To the left, I see upturned sidewalks, cars on blocks, broken swing sets and dilapidated kids toys. To the right, I see mostly fences, which to me means dogs. We turn left. I am canvassing one of Denver’s poorest neighborhoods with another woman, Dawn, who is about my… Continue Reading

February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month and in honor of this occasion Tri-County Health Network would like to highlight its effort to combat heart disease in our rural, underserved region. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. — 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. Fortunately,… Continue Reading

Guiding Through Enrollment

I was not sure what to expect when Open Enrollment began. As the newest Health Coverage Guide (HCG) with Tri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork), all I could think of were the horror stories from last year’s enrollment period. Hours on hold with Connect for Health Colorado fixing technical issues, dealing with aggravated clients, lost usernames and… Continue Reading

Navigating Options for Our Elders

All of us witness and experience aging. When we are younger, our lives are filled with work, play, children and more. Aging does not seem to impact us personally unless we have an aging family member or loved one. At some point in our lives however – aging becomes a very personal affair and one… Continue Reading

You Only Get What You Give

This past month, Tri-County Health Network competed in Telluride Gives, an online giving campaign designed to unite the Telluride community to give back to local nonprofits who improve the quality of life for everyone in the region. This was a big campaign for us since this is the only time of the year we solicit… Continue Reading

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and Tri-County Health Network wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity. It’s also a major cause of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people… Continue Reading