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At only 10 years old, Sophie Cruz has already transformed the discussion on immigration

For Hispanic Heritage Month, we've gathered info on some of our favorite Latinos who, besides their main careers, are known for their activism for causes like immigration equality, farmer's rights, women's rights and more. Stay tuned @lapazchatt for the full series.

Sophie Cruz (born December 17, 2010) was only five years old when she made international headlines for handing the Pope a letter urgently asking him to protect DAPA and undocumented immigrants. In 2015, Pope Francis visited Washington DC for a joint meeting with Congress to discuss issues such as environmentalism, economic advancement, religious persecution, and the increasingly politicized issue of immigration. Sophie, wearing a shirt that read “Papa Rescate DAPA” pushed through security to meet him, handing him a letter she hoped would influence his discussion.

“Pope Francis, I want to tell you that my heart is very sad, because I’m scared that one day ICE is going to deport my parents. I have a right to live with my parents. I have a right to be happy. My dad works very hard in a factory galvanizing metals. Immigrants like my dad feed this country. They therefore deserve to live with dignity, they deserve to be respected, they deserve immigration reform, because it would be beneficial to my country, and because they have earned it working very hard, picking oranges, onions, watermelons, spinach, lettuce, and many other vegetables. Don’t forget about us the children, or about those who suffer because they’re not with their parents because of war, because of violence, because of hunger.”

Sophie Cruz hasn’t looked back since. In 2016, she was invited to White House to meet President Obama. Her parents could not come, because of their undocumented status. In April of 2016 she appeared at the Supreme Court to listen to a meeting on DAPA, the policy that allowed her parents to stay with her in the US. In 2017, at just six years old, Sophie gave an inspiring speech at the Women’s March, urging the crowd to fight for immigration reform with love and courage. She delivered the speech in both English and Spanish. Sophie has continued to advocate for immigration rights, making her film debut in the documentary “Free like the Birds”, where she outlines her motives for advocacy, and even getting a mural painted of her—titled “Sophie Holding the World Together”—painted in San Jose. Sophie’s activism shows that anyone, no matter their age, can fight to make a difference.

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