Alycia Guevara starts her first day at SC Appleseed today and we are so excited that she is joining the team as the community organizer for the immigrant community. Alycia’s passion for this work was instilled in her at a young age by her father. As the daughter of a Salvadoran immigrant, she was able to see and hear first-hand how hard it was for her father to come to the US in the 1980’s, after civil war tore El Salvador apart. Although he didn’t know any English, he came to America to start a new life, a safe life away from the civil war. He was granted a pardon by President Regan and became a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Although her father is a legal immigrant and Alycia is a natural born American citizen, they still face discrimination because of their Salvadoran heritage. Alycia’s father, for example, owns a siding company and was working in Tennessee a few years back. When he and his work crew stopped for gas, the proprietors of the gas station turned off the lights and the pumps and refused to serve them, because they were afraid. Experiences like these, from her life and the lives of her friends and family, had profound impact on Alycia’s views – and are the source of her passion to help the immigrant community in South Carolina.
Alycia previously worked at Pinilla Law Firm as an attorney’s assistant, helping with forms and translation. Her passion for immigration reform brought her to SC Appleseed. She can’t wait to get started helping DACA Dreamers and others understand their rights, advocate for themselves and educate the community about the issues they are facing and the contributions they are making to our communities. One way Alycia will work with the impacted immigrant community is by helping them form active Comites de Defensa del Barrios (CDBs). The CDBs provide tools to the community to develop leadership through educational programs that address the issues that they identify as the most important ones facing their neighborhoods. Alycia will work with the CDBs to decide what issues they want to work on, help them come up with a plan to work on the issue and provide guidance and presentations to help the CDBs have their own voice about the issues in the state that impact their lives.
When she is not working, Alycia loves to learn more about Central and Latin American history, culture and literature. She loves to go to Lake Murray or just hang out on her back porch hammock with her cat, reading poetry and short stories. She recommends Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in case you are looking for some summer reading. You might be surprised to learn Alycia is a bit of a Doctor Who aficionado and for those of you who share her interest, the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, is “her” doctor.