Young leaders from Mexico and El Salvador will highlight positive stories of youth engagement and raise awareness of the impact of deportation and violence on young people in Latin America


For Immediate Release

The tour “Youth Building Bridges” is a transnational effort coming to Chicago and Eastern Michigan in February 2020.

Amy Shannon:
Yancy Nuñez:

The tour “Youth Building Bridges” is a transnational effort coming to Chicago and Eastern Michigan in February 2020. 

January 31, 2020 A ten day educational tour, sponsored by Strangers No Longer in Michigan and Alianza Americas, kicks off this Sunday.  Youth leaders from Mexico and El Salvador will share their stories in high schools, universities, parishes and communities in Chicago from Feb 1-4 and in Eastern Michigan from Feb 5-10. Youth leaders from Mexico who have experienced the pain of voluntary removal and deportation will share their stories– and how they have come to defend the rights of deported people in Mexico.  From El Salvador, we will be joined by a creative young activist who is using urban art and music to provide alternatives to gangs and protect at-risk children and youth in one of San Salvador’s most marginalized neighborhoods.

The tour will build connections between young people in Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor and Flint, Michigan and their peers from Mexico and Central America, seeking to promote understanding and solidarity across borders.  By engaging on a personal level, participants will deepen their understanding of the factors that are causing so many people to leave their home countries, and the pain that is experienced by children, youth, and families who are caught the ever-more aggressive immigration enforcement systems that are causing families to live in fear, and that have resulted in many people being returned to Mexico or Central America. 

Collaborating organizations:

Otros Dreams en Acción (Other Dreams in Action) is a self-help, activism, and mutual support group based in Mexico City,  comprised of young people who grew up in the United States and now find themselves in Mexico. Some of them were deported.  Others accompanied a deported family member, or returned due to fear of deportation. Representing Other Dreams are:

  • Maggie Loredo is the co-founder and co-director of Otros Dreams en Acción is a returnee since 2008. She was born in the state of San Luis Potosí, Mexico and at the age of 2 migrated with her parents to the United States. In the United States, she was able to complete her high school education. However, she was forced to go back to an unknown Mexico and face the reality of being a foreigner in her own country. Maggie is certified to teach English, she studied tourism, and loves photography. 
  • Leni Alvarez: is a returned migrant, “pocha” and activist. She’s part of the 1.5 generation in limbo, legally Mexican but raised as an American. At the age of 16 she found out she was undocumented and had to leave the country she called home. She was born in Mexico, grew up in Florida and currently lives in Mexico City. Over the course of the past 10 years re-building her identity and learning to navigate life back in Mexico, she has decided to use her life story and experience to support others arriving in Mexico and advocate for family reunification and rights.

Soy vida (I Am Life) – is a project in El Salvador, which works to reclaim public spaces and rebuild social fabric through youth-led urban art. The project offers art and music instruction, entrepreneurship opportunities, and soft skills development for young people in vulnerable communities  who want an alternative to the violence that is prevalent in their neighborhoods. Speaking on the tour on behalf of Soy Vida is:

  • Fernando Jose Trejo is a social work student and activist who has been engaged in social justice issues since 2016, when he became secretary of a youth committee in his home neighborhood in San Salvador. In 2017, joined with the “Grafitour” project, driving creative renewal in communities that have been historically marginalized. He later became the president of a San Salvador youth group, where he organizes and manages various activities in collaboration with local officials and civil society organizations.  Fernando works as part of a close-knit team of youth leaders. In 2019, he was awarded the “Youth Who Changes and Transforms” recognition by the Human Rights Law Office. 

Alianza Americas is a network of more than 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 150,000 families across the United States. It is the only national network in the United States of Latin American and Caribbean organizations working from a transnational perspective for inclusive, equitable and sustainable living conditions.

Strangers No Longer is a network of Catholics in SE Michigan who form Circles of Support in their parishes to educate, accompany families and advocate for more humane policies and practices toward immigrants. Information:  call 313-549-0421.

Media Inquiries

Youth leaders and representatives from the organizations will be available to speak with the press. For more information on the agenda or interview requests, contact Zorayda Ávila, at and 1 (773) 577-9566.