Digame is a monthly series featuring prominent Latinx leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, and public figures uplifting the community and making a difference.
Michelle Villegas is the Latino Coalitions Director of the Democratic National Committee. In her service as Latino Coalition Director for the DNC, Michelle is representing the Latino community by empowering them to have their voices heard in major efforts such as making them actively participate in the candidates, values and organizing work campaigns introducing more of her cohorts to the assortment of possibilities opened by the new vision of the DNC.
What is the Adelante program?
Adelante, the DNC’s latino signature program, is focused on making sure that Latinos are hearing from us through different channels: online, on the radio, in their local papers and especially on the ground in our communities through bilingual organizing programs and community events.
What makes you excited about the Adelante program?
I’m passionate about making sure that as a party, we’re meeting Latinos where they are, and speaking directly–in both English and Spanish–to the issues that matter most to us.
What planted the seed to help your community?
For a long time, it didn’t occur to me that being undocumented made me different. It really wasn’t until High School when I wasn’t eligible to get a driver’s license at 16 that I started to understand what it meant. There was also the pain my family felt in not being able to go back to their home for many years.
How did you end up on the professional path you’re on now?
Growing up, I didn’t see many Latinas working in politics and I didn’t realize that this was a career I could pursue. When Hillary Clinton ran for president, I was inspired to help elect our first woman president and got involved as an organizer on her campaign. Often, I was the only woman of color in the room and I understood how necessary and important it is to elevate people of color into this space.
What drives your passion to preserve and strengthen DACA?
I grew up undocumented and was a DACA recipient for many years. Thanks to DACA I had an invaluable opportunity to make a life in this great country that I consider my home. In the summer of 2012, my life changed when President Obama announced the DACA program. I felt as if I was being seen for the first time. It felt powerful that the President of the United States had seen us – and given us hope and permission to pursue our dreams. I got a job as a student coordinator at my university’s center for service and justice and organized for many causes, including immigration reform. Being able to work and have a voice, especially in politics, felt imperative to making a real change for my family and so many others who were still living in the shadows. Especially now, as Democrats continue to fight to protect Dreamers, I feel an immense duty to continue helping make real change.
How can someone get involved with the Adelante program?
- Become a Social Ambassador: Sign up to become a social ambassador via our Greenfly app today and have the latest social content from the Democratic Party sent directly to your phone. You can find directions to download the app here, and don’t forget to use the code ‘DEMSLATINO’.
- Volunteer with Adelante: Volunteer using this form or texting ADELANTE to 43367. You can also find a list of existing events here.
- Help Support Adelante by buying DNC program Merch:
○ T-shirt here
○ Tote here