Julissa Arce’s journey inspired and changed lives

Julissa Arce was 14 years old and living in Texas when she learned she was an undocumented immigrant. “I didn’t understand the weight of the secret that my mother had revealed to me,” Arce, who is now a U.S. citizen, says of the revelation. Her journey from “living in the shadows” to a high perch on the corporate ladder inspired an unlikely career as a best-selling author – and changed lives.

For me, the word “immigrant” is really about strength. It’s really about how much we give to America with our talents and our hard work to make the country better,” Arce told Yahoo.

Arce, who became a vice president at Goldman Sachs as well as an author, social advocate and champion of higher education, came to Texas from Mexico on a tourist visa when she was 11 years old. At 14, his visa expired. Arce’s younger brother was born in the United States; his parents still had visas; but she was the only one not to have papers. “Everything in my life was about hiding this one fact, making sure no one found out, and so I learned to hide.”

Her second memoir, “Someone Like Me,” published in September, is aimed at young readers ages 10 and up. The central theme: Arce’s American dream of going to college and overcoming obstacles related to his immigration status. “I said to myself, ‘Someone like me can go to college, someone like me can become vice president of a university.’ Goldman Sachs and someone like me were not supposed to go this far, but I did,” she said.

I remember being in middle school and never reading books in school that reflected my experiences as a Latina, a Mexican-American, as an immigrant, as a brown girl.

Arce’s first book, 2016 “My (Underground) American Dream,” became a bestseller. She is working with actress America Ferrera to turn the book into a television show.

Author Julissa Arce at a book signing for her new memoir Author Julissa Arce at a book signing for her new memoir

Author Julissa Arce at a book signing for her new memoir “Someone Like Me.” (Photo: Courtesy of Julissa Arce)

In In 2012, Arce launched the Ascend Educational Fund to give students, regardless of immigration status, a chance to pursue higher education. “Education is a human right. Every child, regardless of ethnicity, deserves to benefit from a quality education,” she said. Arce was able to award nearly $500,000 in scholarships to more than 50 students.

She became a U.S. citizen in 2014. “What really stayed with me was not the tears I had while writing the book, but this kind of sense of renewed hope that I felt. My American dream now is to open doors of opportunity for other people. »

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