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Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez
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Felipe was ranked one of the top 20 community college students in the United States and best student in the state of Florida in 2008 according to the American Association of Community Colleges. In addition to his educational excellence, Felipe also found time to serve his peers as student government president of Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus. A recent graduate from St. Thomas University, he was born to a single mother in the slums of Brazil, who sent him at age 14 to the United States, where he first dreamed of becoming a teacher. Felipe walked on the Trail of Dreams in 2010 to draw attention to the need for the DREAM Act, and has been organizing for the past few years with both Presente and United We DREAM. Felipe was awarded the “Freedom From Fear” award from Public Interest Projects in 2011 for his work on the Trail of Dreams. He has a long record of pressuring both Democrats (see here) and Republicans (see here) for progress on Latino issues — and now he’s bringing that knowledge and history to the LGBT movement. You can reach Felipe by emailing him at felipe at getequal dot org.

Entries by Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez

Dreamers' Message to Sen. Reid: Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

(2) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 1:54 PM

On June 30, President Obama stood in the White House Rose Garden and made a promise to the Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, and immigrant community that he would take concrete action to help our communities by the end of the summer. The President also made a promise to protect my...

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President Obama: Our Future, Your Legacy

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 3:29 PM

Just a year ago, many LGBTQ people were waiting for the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and of Proposition 8, California's statewide ban on same-sex marriage. Rallies and parties happened all across the country when it was announced that...

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We Need Truth-Tellers Not Stewards on Immigration

(2) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 2:23 PM

Co-authored by Juan Pablo Orjuela

Three years ago, we stood up in the middle of a speech President Obama was delivering to National Council De La Raza and interrupted him with chants of "Yes you can."

After the DREAM Act had failed to pass in Congress months earlier, immigrant...

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We Won't Take No for An Answer, Mr. President

(3) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 10:24 AM

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/18/deportations-drop_n_4467617.htmlAs leaders with United We Dream and GetEQUAL, respectively, we know that the movement for justice for the LGBTQ community and the immigrant community is a shared struggle. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder in a long-term fight for our families and our communities, knowing that it will take years -- perhaps even...

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Mr. President, Waiting Is Not an Option!

(3) Comments | Posted November 8, 2013 | 2:08 PM

The two of us come from very different backgrounds, but our queer identities have united us in our call for full LGBTQ equality in all matters governed by civil law.

Unfortunately, the LGBTQ movement has only asked for what we think we can get -- instead of what we deserve....

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LGBT Immigrants Stand Up for Dignity and Respect

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 1:37 PM

On Oct. 5 I will be a voice in a national chorus. I will join others across 80 cities in mobilizing for the National Day for Dignity and Respect on behalf of our nation's undocumented men, women and children. With one voice we will say that the time for comprehensive,...

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We'll 'Max Out,' but at What Cost?

(24) Comments | Posted June 6, 2013 | 11:20 AM

Last week First Lady Michelle Obama stood in front of hundreds of LGBT donors in a New York City fundraiser and asked each of them to "max out," or donate $32,400 to Democratic causes. It's the maximum amount of money you can donate to a candidate or political committee, and...

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LGBTQ Inclusive Immigration Reform

(3) Comments | Posted April 11, 2013 | 2:06 PM

I have been fighting for the full inclusion of LGBTQ voices in immigration reform since 2008 along side many powerful undocuqueer people. We have gone a long way and we still have much to accomplish so our movements can be united. Needless to say, for us in GetEQUAL, immigration reform...

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A Heart-to-Heart With the LGBTQ Community

(17) Comments | Posted March 30, 2013 | 9:00 AM

In 2001 I landed in Miami after an eight-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The night before, I gave my mother a warm hug before she whispered in my ear, "If anyone asks, you are going to Disney World." I cried the entire way to Miami, because I was...

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I Am Family

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 2:35 PM

While I was on the Trail of DREAMs in 2010, walking with three others from Miami to our nation's capital to advocate for immigration reform, I learned about an expression used by LGBTQ people in the South. There, because of the fear of being "out," LGBTQ folks called each other...

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Wasington Coelho Ribeiro, Gay, HIV-Positive DREAMer Detained in Miami, Faces a Death Sentence

(86) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 11:59 AM

A few weeks ago, a friend and fellow organizer brought to my attention the case of Wasington Coelho Ribero, a 27-year-old Brazilian immigrant who is a gay man living with HIV in a detention facility in Miami. This young man arrived in the U.S. when he was only 12 years...

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Religious Right Attacks Again

(11) Comments | Posted September 19, 2012 | 6:48 PM

We all expected for participants of the Values Voter Summit to be intolerant and to have extreme views on reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant rights. What we didn't expect was for participants to be encouraged from the conference's main stage to be violent toward protestors. This wouldn't...

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President Obama -- Use Your Pen!

(1) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 4:13 PM

I remember the moment a few years ago when my now-husband Juan Rodriguez brought me a huge map of Florida. We had been organizing undocumented youth in Miami for the few months before that through Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), and had gotten a good deal of traction. But...

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A Movement Starts with a Few Fed Up Souls

(28) Comments | Posted June 19, 2012 | 7:18 AM

Friday was an amazing day in my personal life. A movement of mostly working class people of color forced the most powerful man in the world to listen. I remember when I first got involved and people would dismiss us for not having money or for being undocumented and not...

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Taking New Vows

(3) Comments | Posted May 10, 2012 | 7:15 AM

Last December my partner in crime and in life brought me to South Carolina to meet his grandmother. Needless to say I was a wreck; I was so nervous about meeting his grandmother that I even created a few talking points in case the conversations went sour. What I didn't...

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Sen. Rubio: 1 Down...2.1 Million to Go

(12) Comments | Posted March 8, 2012 | 7:22 AM

Florida Senator Marco Rubio held a meeting with DREAM Act student, Daniela Pelaez, The North Miami Senior High School valedictorian whose deportation case is the most recent to help people understand the realities facing DREAM Act students across the United States.

Presente Action and Latinos throughout the...

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A Cloudy Day in the History of the Sunshine State

(8) Comments | Posted February 17, 2012 | 7:04 AM

Yeseterday the Florida State Senate once again rejected SB106 the bill that would have provided in state tuition to undocumented residents and US citizen children of undocumented parents in Florida. Instead of choosing to invest in the future of our state by increasing access to education to all youth, our...

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Alabama: This Is Only The Beginning

(17) Comments | Posted November 23, 2011 | 6:47 AM

Last weekend, Presente.org delivered nearly 50,000 signatures to Governor Robert Bentley in conjunction with Reform Immigration for America, America's Voice, National Council of La Raza, Faith and Public Life, La Jefa (Spanish Radio) and Voto Latino.

When news broke out about Alabama's draconian immigration law, Presente.org members sprung into action...

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Cecilia Munoz Didn't Want to Face Me, or the Facts.

(10) Comments | Posted November 18, 2011 | 7:17 AM

Last week I stood outside the Phoenix Convention Center where Cecilia Muñoz, President Obama's top Latina aide and spokesperson on immigration, was scheduled to speak about "immigrant integration." I wanted her to tell me why hundreds of thousands of Latinos like me are what she and the Obama Administration call...

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Meet Cecilia Muñoz's "Collateral Damage"

(20) Comments | Posted November 1, 2011 | 5:44 PM

Cecilia Muñoz, President Obama's primary aid and spokesperson on immigration policy, has come under intense criticism from the Latino community. Some have even called on her to resign because she repeatedly calls the non-violent, non-criminal immigrant majority of people that the Obama Administration deports "criminals" and "collateral damage." For me,...

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