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Dreaming out loud

Vision board fundraiser supports undocumented youth

A vision board made for DACA recipient Rosa Hernandez by Collage Conversations co-founder Nancy Moran

Nancy Moran threw her first collage-making party in 2015 to support her friend Taylor LaTouche, chef-proprietor of Hibiscus Caribbean Bar & Grill, whose health had begun to slip. “She needed to get a kidney transplant, and she was just very depressed,” Moran said. “It was kind of a way to cheer her up and stay positive because she was so ill and so frightened.”

Together they began hosting events where people could gather and make inspirational “vision boards” to express their hopes for the future through the humble medium of magazine clippings, poster board, and glue. From women’s pre-release centers and homeless day shelters to art galleries and private homes, Collage Conversations has brought conversation, community, and craft-making to provide emotional and financial support for people in need.

On Jan. 5, Moran is teaming up with New Sanctuary Network and Dream Alliance Oklahoma for a vision board fundraiser at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. The $20 admission fee goes toward raising money to help local Dreamers, who were brought to the country without documentation as children, pay the burdensome costs associated with renewing their applications to remain protected from deportation.

The fee for renewing one’s protected status under the embattled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is $495—but the cost goes deeper than that. “You have to go through a background check every single time you renew it,” said Rosa Hernandez, DACA recipient and president of Dream Alliance Oklahoma - Tulsa. “And you renew it every two years. So that’s kind of one of the nerve-racking things. Even though you know you haven’t committed a felony or anything like that, it can still be really stressful. You have to wait. And then you have to be approved again. And then you have to go through the whole process again.”

“None of us like uncertainty,” Moran said. “We want to have a crystal ball. When you’re a Dreamer, you’re wondering if everything’s going to be pulled out from under you—if you’re going to lose your family and go back to a country where you’ve never even lived. It’s extremely stressful, and it does take a mental toll. Lots of anxiety and depression. And being that many of these same folks maybe don’t access to mental health care … I wanted to create empathy for what these young people are living through.”

To that end, the event will also include talks by local DACA recipients who will share their stories firsthand. “It’s a way to just build community, and humanize the issue a little bit more,” Hernandez said. “Because we keep hearing about these bills, these laws, these actions—but we don’t really hear from the people themselves. So this is a way that people can actually interact with each other and humanize each other a little bit more—and just kind of relax for a minute. Make some art and have some fun and be social.”

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