Welcome to the Southwest Organizing Project’s (SWOP) website. We are glad you are here. We hope this website will give the institutions, leaders, and residents of the Southwest Chicago community the opportunity to connect with one another, tell their stories, and build power for change in the community.

Juan: A DACA Story

Juan Ramirez picture for DACA Story 9.5.17My name is Juan and I am a DACA beneficiary.  I came to this country with my family when I was 9 years old.  As soon as I started school, it was my goal to learn English as quickly as possible, and by the time I was in eighth grade, I was able to speak it fluently.  I also was very diligent and dedicated to my studies, earning top grades consistently throughout high school and college.

I was able to go on to college and study. My dream was to become a teacher so I made plans to go onto graduate school and earn my teaching certification.  Even though at the time I had no legal status, I was determined to continue my dreams.  Unfortunately, the day after graduation while on my way to graduate school I was stopped by Border Patrol and put on deportation proceedings. Thanks to Senator Durbin I was able to receive deferred action prior to the DACA program.  Once DACA was in effect, I was able to continue my stay in this country and my deportation was put on hold.

Thanks to DACA I have been given the opportunity to contribute to this country in many ways.  I have worked in the nonprofit sector organizing English as a Second Language and Computer classes for immigrant adults.  I also have worked in healthcare, providing interpretation services for patients and medical staff.  Without DACA, I would no longer be able to contribute to this country in significant ways.

Another great story on DACA youth is here and here.

Want to read more stories about SWOP’s work?  They are all here.