Ilse Escobar ’12

Ilse Escobar has put her undocumented status in the spotlight for the empowerment of the community. Currently, she works as a parent and community organizer for United Teachers Los Angeles, creating structures at school sites that bring together parents, educators, students, and the surrounding community to defend and fight for public education. She is also a gifted public speaker who has connected with people from all walks of life by sharing her story of growing up undocumented. Born in Tlalnepantla, Mexico, Escobar migrated to the United States at age three with her family, to escape abject poverty. As part of the immigrant youth movement at UCLA, Escobar witnessed the power of undocumented people to demand change. In 2012, she campaigned to establish and defend the rights of undocumented youth. And on December 13, 2013, in protest of the almost 2 million deportations under the Obama Administration, she was part of a group who chained themselves to ladders with U-locks around their necks, blocking the exit of buses that would transport people to the border. Escobar continues her work for social justice that started with her involvement with Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success (IDEAS) at UCLA. Her road to success has not been easy, but she continues to champion immigrant rights and the right to quality public education for all.

“So I knew then, as a conscious political being, that what really mattered was organizing.”