Latina trailblazer from Queens is a force for change, nurtured movement that led to DACA

QUEENS (WABC) -- From the streets of New York to the halls of Congress - a Latina trailblazer from Queens is a force for change.

Ana Maria Archila leads one of the largest community organizing networks in the country.

"What brings us together is the idea that in order to have dignity in our lives, we need to make sure that we have all the things that we need to thrive," said Archila.

As the co-executive director of the center for popular democracy, she is a woman of action.

"Power gets generated when I am in community with others," she says.

Archila emigrated to the United States from Colombia when she was 17 years old.

The difficult journey changed her life.

"I remember feeling like if one day I got lost in the streets of New York City, there was only one person who would notice, and that was my dad," Archila said, "It was only when I found the immigrant rights movement and when I started organizing with other young immigrants like myself that I felt like I both was seen - was kind of a full human and had community."

Now Archila is winning in the battle for a vibrant democracy.

"I'm proud of nurturing the movement that led to the victory of DACA," said Archila.

However, there is more work to do.

"Push to make sure that people who have DACA have a path to citizenship - people who have TPS have a path to citizenship," she added.

Archila says real people with real stories can shape policy.

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