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Viridiana Martínez

Viridiana Martínez was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. After the national devaluation of the peso and Mexican economic crisis in 1994, Viridiana’s father lost his job, leaving the Martínez family without income or financial stability. Her father came to the United States on a work visa to labor as migrant worker. One year later, Viridiana, her mother, and her younger sister arrived in the United States after acquiring tourist visas. The family settled in North Carolina where they made a home and found economic stability. After their visas expired, Viridiana’s parents chose to stay—the family then became “undocumented.” Viridiana graduated high school in 2004, where she distinguished herself as a student leader, drum major, and honors student. She was accepted by North Carolina State University; however, the institution required she produce a student visa and pay out-of-state tuition. Viridiana’s hopes of attending college subsequently became a dream deferred. This moment inspired Viridiana to campaign for the legal resident status and citizenship of undocumented youth in the United States. In 2010, she cofounded the NC DREAM Team to lobby for the DREAM Act and to create a community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. Today Viridiana Martínez continues to fight and live for these rights in North Carolina.


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