On Thursday night Zulema Ortiz, Big Picture Class of 2008 and dedicated catechist at Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart parish, received the Sor Juana Young Visionary Award at the Chicago Cultural Center. She was one of ten Women of Achievement honored at the event, which is part of the Sor Juana Festival sponsored by the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Zulema is now studying at Morton College and performing with Teatro Americano, a theater group that creates productions about issues affecting Latino immigrants. Zulema also continues to advocate for the DREAM Act and to raise awareness about the struggles undocumented minors face in trying to continue their education. "I wonder if Sor Juana were alive today, what would she say about only allowing some young women to continue their education? Would she say, 'Oh, we should only let the young women who have those nine digits [referring to a Social Security number] continue to learn?'" Zulema asked the crowd as she accepted the award. And no, Zulema didn't think that was what Sor Juana would say if she were here today.
Zulema's own personal story of struggle has recently taken a turn for the better. Her father has been able to establish legal permanent residence in the United States, and now Zulema is able to pursue that process for herself. She has already obtained a work permit and is eagerly looking for a summer job.
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