Round 2 Scholarship Winners!

Congratulations to the second round of winners in the 2012 DFA, America’s Voice and Center for Community Change scholarship program. We’re excited to have each of these talented and passionate change-makers at this year’s conference in Providence, RI. We’d also like to extend a special congratulatory note to Dulce Matuz, who was named one of TIME‘s 100 Most Influential People.

Interested in attending as well? Then click here to apply or nominate someone deserving.

Round 2 Winners:

Dulce Matuz
Phoenix, AZ
Dulce is the cofounder and president of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition and was named one of TIME‘s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012. After Arizona passed Proposition 300 in 2007, it made it nearly impossible for Dulce to continue her higher education due to the rate hike. That’s when she decided to get involved. She loves to volunteer in DREAM Act-related political advocacy. Her ultimate goal is to run for office and to create positive change in her community with a high emphasis in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

Fort Lauderdale, FL
Shane-O is a self-proclaimed political “junkie” who has produced many progressive radio shows, including the Stephanie Miller Show. He’s a regular guest host for the Nicole Sandler Show and co-hosts and produces the talk show “Talking Left,” broadcast on Radio or Not, Talk Radio One, Progressive Blend Radio and SoFlo Radio. He is also the co-creator, co-host and co-producer of “Occuthon 2011,” a charity event to benefit local Occupy movements.


Meg Lanker/Cognitive Dissonance
Laramie, WY
Meg is a college student in Laramie, WY, who is planning to go to law school in fall of 2013 in order to advocate for civil rights and the rights of undocumented workers. Based on suggestions from fellow activists, she began her radio show, Cognitive Dissonance, in July 2010. Since then it has grown to a daily site of news and commentary with nearly 9,000 followers. You can check her out every Friday from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. on KOCA bilingual community radio.

Martha Vazquez
Los Angeles, CA
Martha is the co-founder of San Gabriel Valley Immigrant Youth Coalition and Immigrant Youth Coalition. She has a passion for organizing others and to help them embrace who they are and to fight for their rights. The thing that has empowered her the most from her work is when she sees and/or hears how she have inspired others because of what she’s done unknowingly. Those moments remind her why she does what she loves to do.

Angelica Rubio
Lake Arthur, NM
Angelica is a political junkie and blogger at She is also currently in the process of finalizing a 501c3 application for her organization, Center for Advocacy Rights and Engagement (CARE) in rural New Mexico. She is also a freelance writer and was recently published in the journal of North American Congress on Latin America, providing insight on the media’s negative use of the term “illegal” in the ongoing immigration debate.

Mark Maynard
Ypsilanti, MI
Mark launched his blog,, 10 years ago and it has grown to be on of the most read in SE Michigan. He uses this forum to facilitate the building of community by promoting locally owned businesses and championing progressive causes. He started his blog as a  continuation of a magazine that I published with my wife called Crimewave USA, which was distributed internationally though Tower Records, Borders Books, etc.

Peregrine Kate/Catherine D.
Ann Arbor, MI
Catherine’s activism goes back 30 years after she was inspired by feminist groups organizing against sexual abuse of all types. Since then, her political activities have expanded, but she remains committed to her core belief in “the creation of a society without domination.” Her career history includes stints as a janitor, auto parts assembly line worker, copy editor, adjunct university instructor, researcher, legal worker, HIV/AIDS legal advocate, and union organizer. Recently though, her blogging has became a more appealing method for her to raise consciousness and encouraging mutual empowerment since she has become too disabled by her cancer and its treatments to work outside the home.

Washington, DC
Sam is a native Washingtonian with Liberian ancestry. His experiences have helped shape his perspective and prepared him to pursue a degree in journalism. His ultimate goal is to be in a position where he can disseminate no-nonsense, fact-filled information to the masses in the form of a nicely written news piece, whether print, online, TV or radio. Through his father, he gained interest in American and West African politics and was hooked after following the presidential election of 2000.

Justin Conley
Franklin, NC
Justin is a small-town guy from the mountains of rural NC. He teaches high-risk students career readiness skills and finds it inspiring to watch other young people make the decision to better their lives and communities. Recently, he’s organized the Young Democrats of North Carolina’s Rural Caucus, because he felt that the needs of rural North Carolinians were being forgotten by both political-parties in our state legislature. He’s working to combat the attacks on public education and the growing economic disparity of rural people and to organize a grassroots operation to highlight programs imperative to the success of rural areas.

Colleen Crinion
Washington, DC
Collen grew up in Michigan living a typical working class existence—paycheck to paycheck. For her, this was a lesson in the gulf between hard work at the bottom of the economic scale and hard work at the top. She spent a year as an AmeriCorps*VISTA worker; then earned her M.A. in Sociology, with a focus on gender and family. She currently work for the Humane Society of the U.S., in the legislative and political arm, managing political endorsements, legislative and grassroots outreach and social media. Colleen also volunteer with the DC Abortion Fund and the Women’s Information Network.

Lisa Murano
Orlando, FL
Lisa has worked for a major women’s rights advocacy and health care organization for five years. She’s presented to thousands of young people annually about reproductive rights and health, the importance of young people’s voices in the political arena and grassroots activism. She’s worked with many progressive organizations (c3 and c4) including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Equality Florida, the ACLU, Emily’s List/Ruth’s List Florida, Obama for America, Organize Now and Florida Watch Action, to name a few.

Nancy Meza
Los Angeles, CA
What first inspired Nancy to get involved in politics was the reality of growing up in East Los Angeles and seeing how educational inequalities impacted her family and her community. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico and was brought to the U.S at the age of two by her mother. She later became involved in immigrant rights organizing when she met other dreamers and embraced her immigrant identity. She is a music lover, record collector and proud sister.

Providence, RI
Camilo is a long time community organizer for economic justice who comes from a working class immigrant family in Southeastern Massachusetts. He has worked with a wide array of people from various backgrounds including environmental justice activists, queer liberationists, youth, seniors, disability rights activists, union members and many more. Camilo has dedicated many years to learning various ways to organize with different groups so that they can contribute to make their movements bigger by increasing and broadening participation.

Chris Rork
Denver, CO
Chris has worked on numerous campaigns for Democratic candidates and progressive issues as a staffer and a volunteer. After witnessing eight years of disaster during George W. Bush’s presidency, Chris felt that he could no longer sit idle as the American dream faded into the distance for so many people. He’s passionate about the Colorado state budget, and the massive cuts to higher education and K-12 his state has experienced. He also writes about these issues and national politics on Colorado’s most popular political blog.

Paradise Gray
Pittsburgh, PA
Paradise is a hip-hop legend. He’s been the mentor to Jasiri X and hundreds of other legendary hip-hop artists. He is also the curator of “The Paradise Collection” which includes hip-hop history, photos and memorabilia collection. Paradise is also the Architech of X Clan, Manager of The Latin Quarter, DJ, writer, author, producer, promoter, keynote speaker and artist. Paradise’s inspiration comes from Africa Bambaataa and The Zulu Nation.

Roberta Retrum
Eagle River, WI
Roberta lives in a small Northern Wisconsin town called Eagle River, which is Tea Party territory. Despite that though she collected 897 signatures to recall Scott Walker. In the process she became a fixture and an organizer. Roberta also serves as the Vilas County Co-Coordinator for United Wisconsin, which is the group that started Walker’s recall. More importantly though she is campaigning for a seat in the legislature for the 34th Assembly District this November.

Jonathan “undocuQueer” Perez
Montebello, CA
Jonathan came to the States at the age of 3 from Medellin, Colombia. He has organized against criminalization of people of color and the prison industrial complex since high school among other issues that affect immigrants. He decided to come out of the shadows and closet because he did not want to live in fear and hiding very important parts of himself anymore.


East Bend, NC
After witnessing the challenges his undocumented friends faced, Wooten got involved in immigrant rights activism and organizing. He ended up withdrawing from college and started an undocumented immigrant youth rights community organization called El Cambio back in his hometown. Over the last two years they have created a real movement in their area and local and state-wide politicians have taken notice. He even came out as gay due to the empowerment felt from his undocumented friends coming out about their immigration statuses.

Steve Owens
Calais, VT
Steve is a National Board Certified Teacher in music and was a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the US Dept. of Ed. in 2010. He is active in the labor movement (Vermont Workers Center), and he supports labor solidarity in the quest for social justice. Steve is now the president of the local union and Board Director for VT-NEA and has had influence on local and state policy.


Goodlettsville, TN
Tina is a student and an activist who decided to take a gap year after graduation because paying for college didn’t seem viable at the time. She took time to travel across America, work for a non-profit that works for immigration rights, lobby at the legislature, fight against anti-immigration bills, find ways to bring in-state tuition for all residents regardless of status and work on strategies to keep Tennessee immigrant friendly.


Communications director of Netroots Nation and Netroots Foundation.

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