Senior Keyri Lopez-Godoy is a dreamer in both senses of the word. She is one of many impacted by Trump’s repeal of the Dream Act, but she also dreams about her vision for the future. Despite the uncertainty of her future, Lopez-Godoy remains hopeful. “I’ve dreamt things and now I see that they’re becoming a reality. I never thought that they would. I think that’s the wonderful thing about dreaming. You’re daring and you’re taking risks,” she said.
Since Trump’s decision to repeal DACA on Sept. 5, Lopez-Godoy has become an advocate for other DREAMers. By sharing her story, she makes herself incredibly vulnerable. Assistant Professor of Education Tracy Hough recognizes the risks associated with Lopez-Godoy’s openness. “Opportunities have come her way because she is a risk-taker. I do believe that she is very humble, so I think it’s hard for her to accept that she’s in a position of great power to do such good work,” Hough said. “I think it can be terrifying in knowing that there’s risk even in being who she is and announcing to the world that I am DACA. I am a face to this goodness. Don’t send me away.”
Lopez-Godoy wants to use her position of power to do good for herself and her community. “I am a person that loves other people. I am a person that wants to see good be done in this world. I believe in my potential. I can use the privilege that I do have, even as a minority. I can give back and offer good things to my community,” she said.
Hough supports Lopez-Godoy’s efforts to be a face for DREAMers. “The greatest thing I’ve seen from her is having courage, having faith, and knowing that all will be well. And, if not me, then who? I really think she has the attitude that if I don’t speak, then who will be the champion? Though I am lowly and humble, I am that champion,” Hough said.
Lopez-Godoy has been instrumental in the DACA dialogue on campus and in the community. “We have been able to gather somewhere between, in total, 200 to maybe 300 signatures on campus in [the] four or five days that we had petition signing. At EMU, we’ve gotten a really great response from people.”
Lopez-Godoy’s efforts have inspired people throughout the community. “She has become such a strong and inspiring woman … I value and admire her strength to stay strong when things get hard. She smiles and stays happy all the time,” junior Asmait Asgedom said.
“News is so sterile now. You hear things being reported, even on NPR, but it’s just a fact. And there she is. She is that face of an amazing student [and] an amazing kid to her parents … She’s that face of what we all are,” Hough said. “She really brings forward that humble, pure, I am who I am and I have so much good to do.”
EMU and Harrisonburg community members marched through downtown Harrisonburg to Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s office on Wednesday, Dec. 6 to support Lopez-Godoy and other undocumented, DACAmented, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) immigrants. Those who marched brought more than 1,200 petition signatures to his office. People who were not able to sign the petition before the march walked into the office to share their thoughts on DACA and TPS.
As people signed, the rest of the marchers stood outside and rehearsed the chants. Lopez-Godoy could be seen among the crowd saying, “Sí, se puede,” “What do we want? The Dream Act. When do we want it? Now,” and other chants. She was overwhelmed with joy by the positive response from the EMU and Harrisonburg community.
Lopez-Godoy does not take her role as a face for DREAMers lightly. “I think it takes courage to look within and say I have so much to offer and I have respect for myself. I value myself. And I know that God wants me to love myself. If I have the courage, I know God can give me the strength. I know I can give back and serve other people and do good in this world,” she said.
During this time period of uncertainty, she does not want people to lose hope. “Dream. Try. Do good. That has always stuck with me, realizing that no matter where you come from you, can still do all of those three things. So dare. Never settle for the minimum.”