Astrid Silva finally made it to Washington, D.C.
A full 15 years after her parents refused to let her take a school field trip to the nation’s capital out of fear someone along the way would realize she was an undocumented immigrant, Silva sat in the Senate gallery chamber and listened to Majority Leader Harry Reid share her personal story during his argument for immigration reform. It’s a tale the Weekly first shared in a cover story, “Citizen of nowhere,” on December 23, 2010.
Silva appeared on that cover under the pseudonym Jessica, her face photographed in shadow to protect her identity. Since then, she has emerged as one of Southern Nevada’s most outspoken and profiled young activists, most prominently as an organizer at Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN). Last year, her father wound up on immigration officials’ radar, which nudged her out of anonymity. Ever since, she’s embraced her “dreamer” status.
Silva graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with dual associate degrees and is now enrolled at Nevada State College while shopping for universities with immigration programs. She no longer aspires to be a UNLV Rebel; instead, activism has opened up possibilities at places with better-tailored programs—something she’d never even bothered to daydream about. She’s uneasy about leaving her family while her father hangs in immigration limbo, but knows furthering her education can change the greater conversation about exactly who the country’s outdated laws affect. Wherever she ends up short-term, Silva remains committed to serving her hometown. Just like the shirt she wore to the Senate that day, Home Means Nevada.
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