Denea (pronounced Denae) Joseph is an undocumented Black DACA recipient and national immigrant rights activist. She immigrated to the United States at the age of seven years old from Belize, Central America. It wasn’t until her junior year of high school that she realized the challenges she would face as a result of her immigrant identity. However, she was accepted into the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she commuted back and forth from South Los Angeles to Westwood because of the financial limitations for undocumented youth in higher education. Nevertheless, Denea persisted.
As an undergraduate at UCLA, Denea advocated for the creation of an immigration attorney position on campus and increased sustainable financial aid for undocumented youth across the University of California system. Additionally, as a Young People For(YP4) fellow, Denea developed a social justice blueprint to address undocumented access and retention in institutions of higher learning.
Denea is a regularly sought-after media commentator on immigration issues and has been vocal about her undocumented and Black experience. She has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Essence, Vogue, The Guardian, and The Los Angeles Magazine’s historic immigration issue, among others.
Denea attended the 2018 State of the Union address as the guest of California Senator Kamala Harris. Denea has been serving as the Vice President for the Black Los Angeles Young Democrats (BLAYD), California Ambassador for the United State of Women (USOW), and most recently worked as the communications coordinator for the UndocuBlack Network (UBN) where she advocated for the representation of UndocuBlack immigrants within the mainstream immigrant narrative. She aspires to be a human rights attorney, advocating for the rights of the most marginalized around the globe.