- Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your role with Avenue?
Hello! My name is Daniel O Candelaria Olvera, and I am the new Community Organizer with Avenue, currently focusing on organizing around the 2020 Census. My job will be to educate the community as to what the Census is and the history around it. The Census is very important for the future of our neighborhoods and we have the power and responsibility to make sure our communities are Complete Count Communities!
- What did you do before coming to work at Avenue?
Before working with Avenue, most of my organizing was in the field of Immigrant Rights, especially working with undocumented youth, both as a volunteer, community leader and as paid staff. Throughout my years, I have lead rallies and campaigns, organized community meetings and organizing trainings, held DACA immigration clinics where hundreds of community members obtained immigration law services free of charge, organized trips with dozens of students for actions in Austin and Washington, among many other things.
- What is your favorite memory from your work as an undocumented youth organizer?
That is a hard question, because those years are full of memories I will treasure deeply till the day I die. The connections and relationships I made throughout the years are deep and many of them are friends I made for life because of what we experienced together. Two years ago, a terrible law for immigrants called SB 4 came into being, and many cities and counties like Dallas, San Antonio, Bexar County, and others across the state actually sided with their communities and joined a lawsuit that was against the law. The City of Houston fell behind these other cities and we had to do something about it.
Before this effort, my knowledge of city politics was very limited, so it was a full 2 weeks of learning and teaching others about how everything works. We held a campaign to push the city to join the lawsuit as every other major Texas city had done. We took immigrant students and families to City Hall for the first time to testify, lobbied council members and their staff, and held actions outside city hall alongside many partner organizations. Together as a community, we made City Council acknowledge that they needed to take action. After all of that, the Mayor had to put the measure in the calendar up for a vote, and after we flooded the council member's offices with calls, letters, emails, and meeting requests, we managed to get a positive vote in our favor. The city stood by its people and joined the lawsuit against SB 4, and it was all because of the community coming together.
- What are your goals for your position at Avenue?
I want to create a space within the organization where the community feels that this space is their space. I definitely want to make sure that everybody in the community we serve completes the Census, but I also want to make sure that the space I create continues to flourish after the Census is done and I am gone. I want to use the Census as catalyst for change in the Near Northside and Northline communities.
- What is your favorite animal to have as a pet?
Such a hard question! A year ago, I would have said cats right away, but recently I got a dog whose name is Joker and I have grown very fond of him. I am not sure anymore.
- What are your hobbies? What do you like? Well I am kind of a nerd to be honest. I love Anime but I am just beginning to discover it, and I love going to the movies and watching TV series on streaming platforms. I am a big fan of sports, especially soccer and football, and I love the outdoors and nature! I really like food that I know I like (I will never get tired of it) and will rarely try new things, but if I do and I like it I‘ll add to my food list. I love politics (as you could tell by my line of work) and I am a bit of a history nerd (I love documentaries). I love my friends and family, and I am very outgoing, so feel free to reach out to me and strike a conversation, or odds are I will!