Dreamer Erik Ramirez, 34. Born in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.
October 11, 2019
Sac State alumnus and DRC program coordinator Erik Ramirez graduated from Lompoc High School before DACA was in place.
Ramirez was very involved with his high school, serving as student president of his class and graduating with a 4.3 GPA. Although he received several scholarships, there was no access to financial aid for him to further his education.
Passionate about pursuing an education, Ramirez went on to graduate from community college in 2005. Although he had a degree, his status limited him from working legally.
“I was out of school for ten years,” Ramirez said. “I had to find creative ways to make a living.”
When DACA was implemented, he applied and decided to continue his education. Despite the ten years and six months of waiting for his DACA service cards, Ramirez came to Sac State in 2015 and graduated within two years.
His plan after graduation was to pursue a career teaching. He enrolled in a graduate program in the communications department, where he landed a job as a graduate assistant.
“Having DACA opened a lot of doors,” Ramirez said. “I first started as a graduate assistant, then a teaching associate. I was teaching while working part-time, but I wanted to get involved.”
Ramirez then became ASI director of graduation studies on campus. This position later made him realize that he wanted to work in student affairs and services.
“I love Sac State,” Ramirez said. “I think it’s incredibly inclusive, sensitive and accepting of students like me.”
He later became a student assistant at the DRC, where he worked for a couple of months until he became the point of contact for the center.
“I’ve always been interested in how race, ethnicity, and culture impacts peoples’ communication,” Ramirez said. “And the messages we create and how we interpret them.”
Ramirez graduated in May 2019 and became the full-time coordinator for the Dreamers’ Resource Center.
Despite his success, Ramirez still fears the potential termination of DACA.
“DACA gave us the opportunity to go back to college and pursue various careers. They gave you this opportunity to do better for yourself and your community,” Ramirez said. “But then, they take the rug right out from you.”
Ramirez took a moment to recognize not only DACA recipients, but also undocumented immigrants who never received DACA.
“For someone to pursue higher education with so much uncertainty, that is admirable,” Ramirez said. “In a way, I’m lucky. I have this privilege to be protected from deportation to a certain extent. Not all students have DACA.”
Ramirez said he will continue helping undocumented students like himself despite the fear of removal. He said his goal is for students to achieve their goals and aspirations.
“Staying positive can be difficult, but there are folks that want to see you succeed,” he said. “Let that be your driving force. It might get tougher, but it can be done.”