Dan-el Padilla Peralta, a Fellow in the Society of Fellows and Lecturer in Classics at Columbia, led the effort teaching our "Humanities Texts, Critical Skills" class to formerly incarcerated youth as part of the Justice-in-Education Initiative this summer. In July 2015, Dan-el's memoir Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey From a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League wiill be published by Penguin Press. The book charts his path as an undocumented immigrant living in a homeless shelter in New York to winning scholarships and positions at some of the most prestigious schools in the world. These tremendous efforts have not gone unnoticed.
On July 22, The New York Times published an article on Dan-el and his incredible journey. In the piece, titled "From an ‘Undocumented’ Boyhood to a Doctorate," writer Liz Robbins recounts young Dan-el's connection with Greek and Latin texts and how he hopes to impact U.S. immigration policies by telling his own story.
To help enforce this change on policy in the U.S., Dan-el also penned an Op-Ed in The Guardian on the treatment of Haitians in his homeland of the Dominican Republic. The mistreatment of Haitians holds a mirror up for the United States to examine its own poor treatment of immigrants historically and in the current century.
Dan-el was also interviewed on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC on July 28, 2015.
Lastly, The New York Daily News also covered Dan-el and his memoir, noting that his story stands as a testament to overcoming great odds.
Read more about Dan-el and the Society of Fellows at Columbia.
Image: Damon Winter, The New York Times