ucla mourns tam tran and cinthya felix

This week, friends, family and the UCLA community held a memorial service for Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, two former students and immigrants' rights activists who died in a car accident in Maine last week: UCLA mourns two graduates killed in Maine traffic accident.
Their personal struggles to graduate - despite bans on financial aid, grants and fellowships for illegal immigrants - propelled the two into leading advocacy roles for others in similar situations. Tran testified before Congress in 2007, relating her story as a "stateless" refugee: the daughter of boat people who fled Vietnam and came to the United States when she was 6 from Germany, where she was born.

"I am culturally an American, and, more specifically, I consider myself a Southern Californian," Tran told a House subcommittee. "I grew up watching 'Speed Racer' and 'Mighty Mouse' every Saturday morning."

She pleaded for passage of the so-called DREAM Act, a proposed federal law that would provide a chance at legal residency for undocumented college students. According to the bill's sponsors, some 65,000 illegal immigrants graduate from U.S. high schools each year.

"This was her chosen life path," said Tran's mother, Loc Pham, who attended the UCLA memorial. "Without this path her life had no meaning."
I didn't know either of these amazing women, but over the last week or so, I've read and heard quite a lot about their tireless work for undocumented students' rights. They promising, bright students attending prestigious graduate schools, and had so much more passion and fire to give the world.

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