No One Is Illegal: NAYELI VELOZ

Campaign Victories


Calafia Fellow ~ San Francisco, California

Nayeli lives in San Francisco in a home of 10 people.

She lives with her family, which is a total of 6, along with her auntie, uncle, baby cousin and a family friend they consider as an uncle. She is originally from Jalisco, México but moved to the US when she was 5 years old. She remembers growing up with her grandparents, who had a pomegranate tree in the backyard. The tree had a swing, and she and her siblings used to climb it to get the pomegranates. 

Nayeli just graduated from Mission High School and will be attending City College this fall. She doesn’t yet have a specific major, but knows it will be related to social justice. 

Nayeli’s Social Justice Tagline:

What this slogan means to Nayeli is no discrimination against people, especially against those whose homeland this was originally. “When people speak about immigrants, the first people that come to mind are Mexicans or Central Americans. But this is a stereotype,” she says. Nowadays it’s all about money. If you have the money, it’s easy to get paperwork done. But for low-income people who are here to work, it doesn’t work that way.

This discrimination limits people’s ability to succeed, to get better. Some people are afraid to speak up because they’re afraid for their situation. “This fear is a way to quiet us – we know if we speak up it could go bad for us,” she said. “At the same time, it’s beautiful how the community surrounds those of us who have less opportunity. Discrimination closes down some doors, but my community opens up new ones.”


Calafia is yli’s statewide youth policy journal, which amplifies the narratives of young people on topics and issue areas important to them and their communities. Each year, a Calafia Fellow is selected from each of yli’s seven office to identify the issue’s theme and write the stories. Along the way, they are mentored by experienced reporters, travel to statewide and national media conferences, and learn the steps to producing a printed publication. 

Stay tuned for this year’s pub!