You might call him a Dreamer.
“We seek to promote the rights of undocumented youth and their families as well.”
Stamford resident Lucas Codognolla is lead coordinator for Connecticut Students for a DREAM and he and fellow members from around the state are pushing for change.
“Right now immigration is a very politicized issue nationwide and I think it affects everyone and when we share out stories, that’s when you put a personal face to the issue,” he says.
Codognolla, who struggled with being undocumented himself, got to be that face, when Congressman Jim Himes chose him to attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address last month.
“The coolest experience of my life just being there and knowing that I was not only representing myself but representing CT Students for a DREAM,” says Codognolla.
The young leader says C4D has accomplished a lot since its inception 4 years ago. One of the group’s first projects, he says, was pushing for in-state tuition for undocumented college students.
“In 2007 the same legislation was vetoed by then Governor Jodi Rell,” says Codognolla. “This time in 2001 we were able to really put a face to that issue and really come out with our stories, and we were able to pass it into law.”
“Before that undocumented students had to pay double or triple almost to go to any college here or university,” says C4D member Tashi Sanchez Llaury.
Now the group is focusing on getting undocumented students access to financial aid.
“The only way to access that is through a FAFSA from and undocumented students can’t fill out a FAFSA because you need a social security number,” says Llaury.
C4D has regional groups in Stamford, Bridgeport, and Danbury with plans to expand across the state.
“We’re there to build this community of youth and families that are working together for each other and to make this a better country,” says Codognolla
“There’s a lot of strength when there’s many of us saying this is us,” says Llaury.
To find out more about C4D, visit www.ct4adream.org