Leslie Arreaza

Meredith College

Leslie, a junior at Meredith College, actively works to promotes awareness, education, and civil communication surrounding topics of immigrant rights. Leslie's passion for immigrant rights stems from her personal experience as an undocumented immigrant. Leslie's leadership and social advocacy has been instrumental in educating the Meredith community on immigrant issues. As the President of the Meredith College Refugee and Immigrant Club, Leslie developed and screened a documentary film series entitled We Stand with All to share the stories of undocumented immigrant students. In addition, serving as a student panelist, Leslie has helped educate Meredith faculty and staff on how to support undocumented students following the DACA repeal. However, Leslie's impact extends beyond Meredith as she serves as a mentor in her home community for undocumented children live in hiding and facing barriers to access to higher education and employment. Leslie supports her mentees through coordinating campus visits to North Carolina colleges, connects eligible students to the Golden Door Scholar program, and provides guidance on how she overcame barriers herself. Following graduation, Leslie hopes to work for a non-profit agency to advocate for issues of refugee and immigrant rights, specifically supporting the growing gap between 1st and 2nd generation immigrants.

Jo Allen
President
Meredith College

Personal Statement

I grew up in an environment where injustice was part of life. Being undocumented I had to turn away from inequalities because of fear. After high school I began to use my status as a DACA recipient to speak up. Through my writing and community work I began to understand how much impact a story and a face can have on issues. When I began college, I co-founded the Refugee and Immigrant Club. Through this club I have helped organize and lead workshops on civic engagement, organized a clothes drive and fundraiser for refugees, and led meetings with the president of the college. Off campus I spend time mentoring immigrant children and children of immigrants. Children are our future and no child should have to live in fear. I use my voice to help the future generations set their goals high regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or status. I believe the easiest path towards positive change is awareness, so I have made my mission to educate to advocate.

Leslie Arreaza
Psychology Major, K-6 Teaching License: Class of May 2019
written 2018

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