Saba Nafees, a mathematical biology doctoral student, is the only Dream Rider from Texas selected for the national campaign.
Saba Nafees, a mathematical biology doctoral student from Lahore, Pakistan, and Fort Worth, Texas, currently is participating in the Dream Riders Across America national campaign where young representatives will travel across the United States telling their stories and encouraging young people to become agents for social change and racial justice. Participants are either undocumented, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients or come from hard working, low-income families.
Nafees, who is a Dream Rider for the national campaign, is the only representative this year from Texas.
“This is a historic event in the lives of us Dreamers,” Nafees said. “We have set out to help our fellow Americans come out of the shadows. We need America united in this front so that it can continue to be the land of freedom it is today.”
While serving as a Dream Rider, Nafees and the other representatives share their personal stories of migration, hopes for their families and country and how young people can get involved in building a united network of progressive young people from all walks of life. As they travel through the southern states, they will engage communities and young leaders within them to talk about racial injustice and police brutality in an effort to collectively ignite social change in this area.
Nafees has a strong personal connection in encouraging the younger generation today as she is a One Young World ambassador, CEO and president of Texas Tech Innovation, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship (TTIME) and vice president of Graduate Affairs for the Texas Tech University Student Government Association, among many other titles. She presented at Texas Tech's TEDx conference, spoken on national news outlets such as MSNBC, traveled to Guatemala for medical missions and recently she and four other Texas Tech students won the Tibetan Innovation Challenge hosted by Rochester University.
Nafees was an E3! ambassador for the inaugural class of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders E3! ambassadors program, where she worked to engage youth in the four key areas of the program: education, mental health, pathways to public service and DACA. In May, Nafees was a panelist at the White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with other national representatives speaking about AAPI immigration stories.
As a recipient of the DACA program, Nafees works to encourage young people to apply for this program as it allows her to be in the United States to get an education and receive many opportunities without the possibility of being separated from her family.
As the Dream Riders make their way across the U.S., they encourage the younger generation to use the resources available to them and inspire them to have a voice for new policies and opportunities for immigrants and people of color in America.
“There are millions of young immigrants who have been raised in this land we call home,” Nafees said. “Yet solely due to the lack of comprehensive immigration solutions, we struggle to have the rights we deserve, the opportunities we are capable of earning and the ability to live with freedom.”
The drive across the country began Monday (July 27) and will continue through Aug. 7. The Dream Riders started their trip in Washington, D.C., and will travel through Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.