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African Americans
Education
Electoral Politics
Human Rights
Immigration
Media
Multiculturalism
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
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Youth/Student Activism

Denea (pronounced Denae) Joseph is an undocumented Black DACA recipient and national immigrant rights activist. She immigrated to the United States at the age of seven years old from Belize, Central America. It wasn’t until her junior year of high school that she realized the challenges she would face as a result of her immigrant identity. However, she was accepted into the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she commuted back and forth from South Los Angeles to Westwood because of the financial limitations for undocumented youth in higher education. Nevertheless, Denea persisted.

As an undergraduate at UCLA, Denea advocated for the creation of an immigration attorney position on campus and increased sustainable financial aid for undocumented youth across the University of California system. Additionally, as a Young People For(YP4) fellow, Denea developed a social justice blueprint to address undocumented access and retention in institutions of higher learning.

Denea is a regularly sought-after media commentator on immigration issues and has been vocal about her undocumented and Black experience. She has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Essence, Vogue, The Guardian, and The Los Angeles Magazine's historic immigration issue, among others.

Denea attended the 2018 State of the Union address as the guest of California Senator Kamala Harris. Denea has been serving as the Vice President for the Black Los Angeles Young Democrats (BLAYD), California Ambassador for the United State of Women (USOW),  and most recently worked as the communications coordinator for the UndocuBlack Network (UBN) where she advocated for the representation of UndocuBlack immigrants within the mainstream immigrant narrative. She aspires to be a human rights attorney, advocating for the rights of the most marginalized around the globe.

Testimonials

“Denea Joseph was a speaker on April 1st 2019 for the Undocumented and Black: Race & Justice in America event at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Denea is a prolific speaker with in depth knowledge of the Black Undocumented Community whose stories are often silenced. She speaks truth to power. As an immigration activist she is committed to providing justice to those who have been marginalized, maligned and silenced.”
— Tracie Jones, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Title IX Coordinator for Students, Harvard Graduate School of Education

"We loved having Denea as a speaker to educate the community on the undocumented immigrant experience in today’s political climate. She shared her experience and expertise in a fun and dynamic way that really helped her connect to all those that attended her talk. A student organization really enjoyed meeting her and invited her to return and deliver their, "Beyond Borders" graduation ceremony keynote. If you are looking for a dynamic and funny speaker, we recommend Denea for any campus and community events."
— Norma Salcedo, AB 540 DREAM Coordinator, San Francisco State University

“I can’t put into words the impact that Denea had when gave us the honor to speak at an event called “Undocumented and Black: Race & Justice in America” but I can definitely say that it was a memorable evening. Denea was eloquent, honest, and charismatic. Using her immigration story to connect with a wide range of people, which brought everyone together for a night of enlightenment at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.”
— Ariana Aparicio Aguilar, ED.M. Diversity & Inclusion Associate, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Where do I start? Saying that Denea is a phenomenal speaker just doesn't cut it. Denea is passion in action and she is someone who does her research, is informed, relates to the topics she speaks about and can articulate what most of us are thinking but are unable to put in words. Denea is our generation’s gift that gives voice to issues devastating our communities and nation and does it in a way that forces you to face the fact that we all have a social responsibility in righting the wrongs in this world. We can all learn a thing or two from Denea’s courage, her authenticity and her leadership.”
— Charity Chandler Cole, Chairwoman of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, National Director of Contracts Administration for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation
 

Speeches

Black UndocuJoy in the Era of Trumpism
To be Black and Undocumented in the Era of Trump is to be constantly under attack at the intersections of our marginalized Black and immigrant identities. However, with great pain comes great acts of resilience. Black UndocuJoy in the Era of Trumpism explores the individual and collective resilience of the undocumented and Black community in response to racist and xenophobic speech turned policy.

Under-Protected, Over-Policed: The Criminalization of Undocumented and Black Immigrants
The mainstream media often correlates Latinx identity to immigration. As a result, Black immigrants are often  ignored in conversations surrounding the migrant caravan, mass raids, detention and deportation. Under-protected, over-policed uncovers the sinister tactics used to disproportionately detain and deport undocumented and Black immigrants.

Democratic Propensity to DREAM
This talk provides a historic overview of the fight for the Development Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. In a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and DREAMer world, Democratic Propensity to DREAM outlines the origins of the fight for undocumented immigrants in the United States, the organizing tactics and eventual outcomes that resulted in temporary solutions to a longstanding problem.

Our Liberation is Bound Together: The Importance of Intersectionality
In a letter to Angela Davis, James Baldwin once said, "If they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night." This is the same approach that we must take in our organizing, understanding that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Our Liberation is Bound Together provides a historic overview of organizing rooted in intersectionality, serving as a blueprint for contemporary movements.

Digital Organizing: Tools to Advance Social Justice through Social Media
This presentation recognizes that digital organizing isn't the end all be all. However, it's a tool to amplify and bring attention to the injustice taking place across the globe in an efficient manner. With the help of smart phones and social media, issues have been easily disseminated and powerful people have been brought to heel. Digital Organizing: Tools to Advance Social Justice through Social Media delves into the origins of movements formed through social media, strategies for longevity, and tactics to advance your cause.

Media