American DREAMers live in a liminal space, between light and dark, and with very few champions. Moreta’s work through United We Dream has been one of the bright spots for this community. And for her inspired vision, Moreta was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, an honor that bestows genius — with or without documentation.
Cristina Jiménez is Executive Director and Co-founder of United We Dream (UWD), the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country.
Growing up, Cristina always knew she was undocumented. Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Cristina came to the United States at age 13. Her parents risked everything and fled poverty to give her family a better life here.
Cristina was instrumental in organizing the successful national campaign that led to the creation and implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Program (DACA) under President Obama. DACA is the most far-reaching and significant victory for immigrant communities in more than thirty years, and has enabled nearly a million immigrants to live without constant fear of deportation, go to school, pursue careers, and build stable lives here.
Under Cristina’s leadership, UWD has grown to a powerful network of 48 affiliates in 26 states and over 400,000 members. The organization has supported and trained tens of thousands of immigrant youth leaders to find and express their voice, and inspired millions.
In October 2017, Cristina was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, also known as a “genius grant,” one of the highest and most prestigious honors that creative leaders can receive in the United States.
Prior to work at UWD, Cristina co-founded the New York State Youth Leadership Council, and the Dream Mentorship Program at Queens College. She also worked as an immigration policy analyst for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and an immigrant rights organizer at Make the Road New York.
Cristina holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and Public Policy from the School of Public of Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Business from Queens College, CUNY.