January 30, 2012

Contact: Viridiana Martinez (919) 704-0599


On National Undocumented Youth Mental Health Day, North Carolina Dream Team holds vigil for suicide DREAMer in detention

RALEIGH – Undocumented youth around the country are holding vigils as part of “Undocumented Youth Mental Health Day” in response to the imminent deportation of Yanelli Hernandez, a DREAM Act-eligible youth who has attempted suicide while in detention. She is set to be deported Tuesday, prompting vigils all across the country, including one in Raleigh organized by the NC DREAM Team.

“Yanelli was stripped of her clothes and held in solitary confinement after attempting to take her life while in detention,” said Viridiana Martinez, a member of the NC DREAM Team who herself is a survivor of depression and suicide.  “She needs to be at home where she can be cared for and supported by her family, not deported to a country where she has no one.”

Last November, undocumented youth Joaquin Luna committed suicide, spurring discussions among immigrant rights activists about what to do about the apparent epidemic of major depression among undocumented youth. While immigrant youth activists found out about Luna far too late, Hernandez’ fate still hangs in the balance. Youth across the country are rallying to save her.

The constant risk of detention and deportation, limited opportunities and an uncertain future inflict profound psychic wounds on undocumented youth. Among the approximately 51,000 potential DREAM Act beneficiaries in NC, an untold many of them face depression. Undocumented Mental Health Day represents a community organizing to address the problem.

WHAT: Vigil for Suicide DREAMer, Yanelli Hernandez

WHERE: YWCA of the Greater Triangle (554 E. Hargett Street, Raleigh)

WHEN: Monday, January 30, 2012

WHO: North Carolina Dream Team


The North Carolina Dream Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies who are dedicated to the creation of a community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize our individual and collective power to activate our communities.