Saturday, May 15, 2010

RIP: Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, DREAM Act Activists

Hear both activists speak out on this video.

UPDATED May 16: Statement from Brown University's Daily Herald. Also, OC Weekly blog.

A sense of sadness fills me this evening finding out the tragic deaths of Tam Ngoc Tran, 27, and Cinthya Nathalie Felix Perez, 26, two activists and UCLA alum who were killed when their car was hit by a pick-up truck in Trenton, Maine early this morning.

Tam Tran was pursuing her Ph.D at Brown University and had graduated from UCLA in 2006. An activist, she testified in Congress about the DREAM Act, and days later, her home was raided and her family was arrested by immigration authorities. CORRECTED: Her family had immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam via Germany, where she was born.

A budding filmmaker, she was an Armed with a Camera Fellow from Visual Communications, making the short documentary, "Lost and Found".

The 5-minute short was shown at last year's Asian Pacific Film Festival in Los Angeles. A VC profile of her by Lori Kido Lopez notes: "Tran first discovered her passion for filmmaking and activism as an undergraduate at UCLA, where she learned to make grassroots, guerrilla-style videos. Since she hadn't had the opportunity to learn any of the technical aspects of filmmaking, she jumped at the opportunity for mentorship and guidance under VC's Armed with a Camera program. As a Fellow in 2007, she was able to participate in workshops that taught her skills like cinematography and lighting, as well as share her treatment, rough cuts, and finished film with a cohort of like-minded young filmmakers."

Cinthya Felix had graduated from UCLA in 2007 with a degree in English and Spanish Literature and was attending Columbia University's School of Public Health. In a creative move, she set up a web site to help her raise the money to attend Columbia. Both were active in fighting to get undocumented students the right to graduate from university and remain in the United States.

Thanks to Fight On for background information.

The two activists' life and spirit will be celebrated at a UCLA memorial slated for Monday, 17 May from 3-5 p.m. at Charles E. Young Grand Salon in Kerckhoff Hall, UCLA. See Facebook event page.

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