Welcome immigration and education advocate, musician/ hip-hop artist, and founder of Mass Dreams, Daniella Vieira to the Immigration MIC Podcast!
Daniella tells us about her family’s experience with immigration from Brazil and initially settling in Massachusetts, to them returning to Brazil and her being born into a mixed status family, eventually immigrating to Massachusetts again for good.
Her experience growing up in Massachusetts, (which today has a booming Brazilian/ Portuguese community) Daniella initially going to school in a town where she was the first foreign language student, and the important support she received from an educator who is now the head of ESL program.
“I had to ramp up my lying a lot more”: Daniella talks about the challenges she began facing her junior year of high school, and how DACA was announced the summer right before her senior year, while she was looking at colleges (and pays tribute to her parents for their encouragement)
Daniella was accepted into all 8 schools she applied to, but was denied because the schools didn’t understand DACA, and eventually went to Ohio State because UMass Amherst would be charging out of state tuition.
The beginning of her immigration advocacy in 2015 which began at an school event where she unexpectedly stood up to talk about financial aid for undocumented students and in turn empowered herself and other students.
She talks about the impact of meeting Hillary Clinton and reflects on the significance of the presidential candidate at the time stopping and listening to her story, and in contract, the very real threat of the current president’s policies.
She goes into her musical influences, how she stepped out of her comfort zone and joining a hip-hop and beatboxing club at school, “I could spill all sorts of secrets in a cypher”,
and the story of being a part of John Daversa's album, American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, which featured 53 DACA recipients, and being invited to be on stage at the Grammy awards.
The motivation behind her two songs 'Alien’, “owning my identity, and being real about the fears I have”, and “Nobody Else” which has a very interesting backstory, “a middle of college weird dating culture” song, which was written and produced over a long period of time.
Daniella is currently studying to take the LSAT and weighing her options in her career, and working on her new organization called Mass Dreams to help undocumented students in Massachusetts, and currently focusing on mental health and looking for participants.