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Julissa Arce

Author & Activist


Julissa Arce is a leading voice in the fight for social justice, immigrant rights and education equality. She is a best-selling author of My (Underground) American Dream (Entre Las Sombras del Sueño Americano) and  Someone Like Me (Alguien Como Yo). She was named one of People en Español’s 25 Most Powerful Women of 2017, and 2019 Woman of the Year by the City of Los Angeles. Her forthcoming third book Rejecting Assimilation is a manifesto against the ways America demands assimilation yet denies belonging, and a rallying cry to preserve and celebrate our unique cultures, values, and vision to create space to truly be ourselves.

Julissa has contributed to The New York Times, TIME, Buzzfeed News, Crooked Media, CNBC, and is one of the hosts of Crooked Conversations. Her book My Underground American Dream is currently being developed as a television series with producer and actor America Ferrera.

In order to help other young people in similar circumstances, Julissa co-founded the Ascend Educational Fund (AEF). AEF is a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students in New York City, regardless of their ethnicity, national origin or immigration status. She also serves on the board of directors of the National Immigration Law Center. She was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014.