Bridging political divides in Arizona to create healing and advance educational opportunities for undocumented youth.
Aliento is a vibrant community organization based in Mesa, Arizona, that is led by DACA and undocumented youth. It seeks to promote healing and the empowerment of immigrants through arts and healing workshops, and offers community organizing and leadership development training. Aliento also engages immigrants and allies to build relationships and create a welcoming environment in Maricopa County, Arizona, engaging faith leaders, educators, and college and high school students.
Aliento trains teachers with the Mesa Public School District and Teach for America. Aliento has also sought to expand DACAmented and undocumented students’ access to higher education. In 2021, Aliento worked with state legislators in both parties to restore in-state tuition to all students who graduate from a high school in Arizona, regardless of their immigration status. The legislature placed the measure on the ballot for the 2022 midterm election, and Aliento led a coalition of Arizona groups to educate voters about the benefits of this policy.
(Unbound funds were not used for legislative advocacy work.)
Aliento was founded by Reyna Montoya, the recipient of an Echoing Green Fellowship, and numerous awards, including the Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneur list of 2018. Reyna, who has DACA, was born in Tijuana, Mexico and migrated to Arizona with her family in 2003 to flee violence. One of her most important campaigns was preventing her father’s deportation.
Aliento advances Unbound’s Strengthen Belonging strategy, particularly our focus on Arizona.
I see art as a two-fold medium that people can use to heal, process, find their voice, and advocate.
Reyna E. Montoya featured by Univision as one of the 15 Latinas Changing the World
Aliento brings together immigrants and allied communities to promote healing and build a more welcoming environment.
Youth Aliento has engaged through its programs, including arts and healing workshops.
Photos: © Diego Lozano, Creative + Digital Director at Aliento
Picture 1: Taken at Aliento’s Reflexiones Open Mic. Aliento’s open mics are a space where community members come together to learn from each other and share their humanity.
Photo 2: Ivette Sosa, a student and a U.S. citizen who lives in a mixed status family, learning from DACA recipient and teacher Yadira Garcia on advocacy best practices and how to educate elected officials on the importance of having in-state tuition for all Arizona high school graduates regardless of immigration status.