Dr. Emma Violand-Sánchez shares her Bolivian immigrant story, the recent history of immigrant challenges in Virginia, and her contributions as an educator and founder of the Dream Project. The Dream Project is a non-profit organization that empowers students whose immigration status creates barriers to higher education. Our speaker will also provide a historical perspective of Latinos in Arlington, discuss the importance of language, education, community, and preservation of cultures and traditions, and help us use the experience of Latinos in Arlington as a window into the struggle of many other immigrant and refugee communities.

Dr. Violand-Sánchez immigrated from Bolivia to Virginia when she was 16 without her parents to study in high school. Fortunately, she received a scholarship to attend Radford University and graduated with B.S and M.S. degrees. Dr. Violand-Sanchez received her doctorate from George Washington University. Dr. Violand-Sanchez was the first Latina elected to the Arlington Public Schools Board. She was Chair of the Board and served for eight years. She retired in 2007 as the Supervisor of programs and services serving English Language Learners Office for Arlington Public Schools. For eight years she served as a member of the Northern Virginia Community College Board representing Arlington County. Dr. Violand-Sánchez has authored several publications including “Mentoring and Retaining College Dreamers” in Teachers As Allies (2018). Dr. Violand-Sánchez is a community and educational leader. Among her many awards she received a senior scholar Fulbright Award, the James Hunter III Human Rights Award, the Mexican American Legal Defense (MALDEF) Community Service Award, VCSS Award for College Board Exemplary Service, Washingtonian of the Year Award, and Life-time Achievement Award for Extraordinary Service to the Community.

This free public program was hosted by the Arlington Historical Society on September 14, 2023. This video lasts 1 hour and 2 minutes.