Our Leadership

Educate. Graduate. Advocate.

Arkansas Coalition for DREAM (ARC4D) is led by young immigrant professionals, students and allies, both documented and undocumented. We feel that every achievement, great and small, is ours to celebrate. Whether it is celebrating a high school graduation to celebrating when one of us receives a work permit or a green card, the success is ours. The importance of being a leader is not just being able to take lead, take charge and responsibility, but also being able to step back and follow; this is the power of people coming together. Persistence, commitment, responsibility and the will to win are just a few of the qualities we look for in our leaders. Meet AC4D’s leaders:

Rosa Velazquez

Executive Director/Co-Founder

   Rosa Velazquez

When you ask Rosa where her home is, she always says “I’m from Arkansas.”, because this is, and always will be, her home. Rosa was born in Mexico City, Mexico; she is an immigrant.

Rosa became drawn to the DREAM Act Advocacy movement in the Fall of 2010–right after she had heard that the DREAM Act had successfully passed the House of Representatives. After the heartbreaking December 2010 morning, she felt that all the calls, emails and faxes she sent were evidently not sufficient, and she wanted to do more. Fortunately, in January 7th of 2011, herself and three friends organized a meeting and Arkansas Coalition for DREAM was born. She was voted as the Executive Director of the organization where, with the help of United We DREAM, she has had the privilege to help mobilize, educate, advocate for and engage many students, allies and educators throughout the state of Arkansas. She is also a part of Arkansas DREAM Act Campaign, whose main purpose is to promote the passage of a DREAM Act in Arkansas.

Rosa now works for United We DREAM where she was elected by her peers as National Coordinating Comittee Representative for the MidSouth North. She is a 7th -12th grade ESL (English as a Second Language) Educator. She is currently attending graduate school at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where she is pursuing two Masters degrees: one in ESL and the other in Literacy.

 

Anahi Esteban

Co-Founder

Anahi Esteban was born in Morelos, Mexico in 1987. She and her family came to the United States in 1999. She graduated from De Queen High School, with honors, in 2005 and graduated from nursing school in 2007. Anahi is currently the secretary of Sevier County Coalition and the Chair for the Substance Abuse Prevention Committee in De Queen. She practices nursing at Genesis Maternity Center. She joined the group because she strongly believes that a DREAMer can make a difference. She also part of Arkansas DREAM Act Campaign, whose main purpose to promote the passage of the DREAM Act in Arkansas. Her favorite quote – “A DREAM you DREAM alone is only a DREAM. A DREAM you DREAM together is reality.” John Lennon

Miguel Alvarez

END Field Coordinator/Co-Founder

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Miguel moved to De Queen when he was sixteen. He graduated as a De Queen Leopard in 2006. He then went on to receive his Associate’s Degree from Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas in 2009. Currently he works at a gym working on getting his personal training certificate. He has always been an active person, playing football all through high school, and now his most recent and favorite activity is running. He calls running an “addiction” and has been running in 5k and 10k marathons since January of this year. You might even see him running to work! Miguel is here to help our immigrant community with anything they may need. Miguel got involved when the Arkansas Coalition for DREAM first started. Since then, he has become the END Field Coordinator and now works in helping DREAMers who are going through deportation proceedings. * Miguel is also part of Arkansas DREAM Act Campaign, whose main purpose to promote the passage of the DREAM Act in Arkansas.

Adriana Alvarez

Little Rock Regional Director/Co-Founder

Hi!! My name is Adriana Alvarez and I am currently a student at University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). I plan to become a lawyer and specialize in immigration and civil rights, where I want to serve the immigrant community in Arkansas. I am a United States citizen, but the reason I joined the movement was because I want to help those who deserve their “natural right”. As one of our founding fathers, Thomas Paine, fantastically said “It is our natural born right to DREAM and be successful in life.” I am here to help the DREAM Act pass. * Adriana is also part of Arkansas DREAM Act Campaign, whose main purpose is to promote the passage of the DREAM Act in Arkansas.

Luis Aguilar

Northwest Arkansas Director

I was Born in Zacatecas, a state in the North Central region of Mexico. It is a place rich with silver mining as well as colonial history and present day culture. It is a place I have few memories of and know mostly through books, the internet, and social media. It is also a place I have not been able to return to since the age of seven; my name is Luis Aguilar and I am the Northwest Arkansas regional director for AC4D.
I graduated with an Associates of Science in Nursing in 2010 from one of the top nursing programs in the state of Arkansas, becoming one of the first Hispanic male nurses to graduate for my school. I am currently working on getting my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Not only do I want to work as the emergency room nurse I have always dreamed of, but I also hold high aspirations to join the military and serve what I now consider to be my country as a military nurse or medic; another one of my dreams that is being put on hold because of the infamous nine-digit number. All I want is to save lives while giving my own life for my country.
An event that happened sixteen years ago, has shaped me into what I am today. One large event forever changed and altered all my dreams. The one lacking nine-digit number is what builds the barriers I am always trying to break. Every single day I try to become a better person, live my life as if I had no limitations, and always remember my past in order to reach my future.

Special Sanders

Southeast Arkansas Regional Director/D.E.E.P. Program Coordinator

Special Sanders is a native Arkansan. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM). She is an instructor of English as Second Language. Her experience working with individuals of diverse needs has helped alert her to the difficulty many immigrants—documented and undocumented—face in the U.S. Sanders DREAMs of the day when this nation can accurately be labeled a place where “all men are created equal”. In order to accomplish this, she feels that human rights and civil rights need to be unanimous for all segments of the population. Special DREAMs of a just U.S. educational system that provides each of its students with the same access to a quality education which will in turn prepare them to compete nationally and globally among their peers. In an effort to aid this vision, Sanders joined the DREAM movement during June 2011. She traveled to Washington, D.C., for the first-ever DREAM Act hearing. Motivated by the support she witnessed during that trip, Sanders returned to Arkansas where she has hopes of working within her community to drum up support for the DREAM Act to become law in Arkansas. When she has free time, she enjoys hanging out with her close family and friends, curling up with a good book, traveling to locales on her “Places I Haven’t Visited Yet” list, perfecting her Spanish-speaking abilities, and finding places to volunteer. * Special is also part of Arkansas DREAM Act Campaign, whose main purpose is to promote the passage of the DREAM Act in Arkansas.

Christian Cortes

AC4D NWACC President

My name is Christian Cortes and I was born in Leon Guanajuato, Mexico. I came to United States at the age of 7. My family first arrived to Anaheim California where we lived for 7 years. We decided to move to Arkansas and I have lived in Arkansas for 7 years. I think of Arkansas as my home I love my community and couldn’t imagine leaving anywhere else. I’m undocumented and unafraid.  I’m currently attending Northwest Arkansas Community College where I’m pursuing an Associates of Applied Science in Computer Programming. I love volunteering and helping my community. I have being a volunteer for different organizations over my last 4 years.  I have done voter registration, helped with citizenship workshops, and Know Your Rights sessions. I’m the President of Arkansas Coalition for DREAM – NWACC Chapter. I am very passionate to pass the DREAM Act because this means everything to most students like myself. Arkansas Coalition for DREAM is a great organization and I’m very blessed and proud to be part of it.

Irvin CamachoIrvin Camacho

Northwest Arkansas Springdale Media Coordinator

Born in Salinas California, Irvin Camacho is one of 3 regional directors in Northwest Arkansas and has been an ally for the Dream Act for two years now. His dream to become  a journalist has led him to fight for others  in hopes of them accomplishing their dreams.
Son of an activist for Cesar Chavez, activism runs in his blood and hopes that he can create change in the world day by day, DREAMER by DREAMER.

Mayra Esquivel

River Valley Ft. Smith Coordinator

Mayra Esquivel is a native from Zacatecas, Mexico. She has resided in Fort Smith, Arkansas since the age of the three. She is a Northside High School 2009 honors graduate and currently a student at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith (UAFS). She is majoring in psychology and minoring in biology. She enjoys volunteering at church or in the community when opportunities arise. She is a member of Catholic Campus Ministry at UAFS where she enjoys sharing her faith with others. She takes pleasure in helping and gaining knowledge.

Ever since learning about the DREAM Act, she has been interested in starting or being part of a DREAM Act movement in Fort Smith where the topic has been quite dormant. She became involved with the DREAM Act activism in January 2012. She has been working with others to help raise awareness on the issue, recruit more individuals, and create hope for DREAMERs, all while pushing towards the passing of the DREAM Act. She accredits her faith as the impetus of her zeal for the cause. Mayra is strongly confident that through her deep Christian faith, Divine help, and self-determination she can make a difference. Mayra promotes that quitting one’s DREAMS should never be an option, no matter the circumstances and encourages everyone to stand up and make a difference! She applies one of her favorite quotes by Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” to the cause.

Humberto Marquez

Waldron Coordinator

Humberto Marquez was born in Zacatecas, Mexico but considers himself
to be from Jalisco, since that is where his family orginates from.  He arrived in California in 1999 where he then moved to Arkansas, starting the 1st grade in Waldron.  He has excelled in Waldron proving to the community that he can be president of his class and his local FBLA chapter.  He is also proud to have represented Waldron in statewide academic and leadership events.  He is a proud Bulldog of Waldron High’s Class of 2012, graduated with honors.  Humberto will always consider Waldron his home where he has spent 12 years of his life.  He is planning to study Business Administration at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.
He got involved in the DREAM movement through AC4D whenever he was at a point of extreme frustration during his senior year and knew that he couldn’t wait for the DREAM come to him.  Thankfully, he found AC4D’s presence online. Since then, he has become more passionate about the DREAM Act and wants to help those affected in his hometown and anywhere else.  Not only does he care about the DREAM Act, but also wants to motivate the immigrant youth in his high school to become better students by being a role model to them.  He believes that inspiration is the first step in success.

Melissa Beltran

Online Coordinator

Melissa moved to the U.S. with her parents in February 2003 from Mexico City, her birth place, and has lived in Arkansas, her home, since. She is in the process of getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science with a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Central Arkansas.

Her involvement with AC4D and its cause to advocate for equal access to education for all and help the immigrant community started in May 2012. She believes that if there is a need, one should fill it. With plenty of available resources and an incredibly helpful and kind community around the country, it is not very difficult and even a must. She looks to helping create a larger and committed Central Arkansas group, encourage youth to follow their aspirations with education, provide resources to the immigrant community, and doing her part in keeping the state coalition connected and the community informed with the tools that tech provides.

Her career plans involve using digital technology for community growth and Arkansas Coalition for Dream has been a great start so far.  * Melissa is also part of Arkansas DREAM Act Campaign, whose main purpose is to promote the passage of the DREAM Act in Arkansas.