Undocumented, Unafraid, Unapologetic and Unstoppable


I slayed the bar exam this past week! I’m proud of myself, given the circumstances.

I am now looking for part-time or contractual employment, as soon as we secure the release of the #DREAM9. And don’t worry, we will secure their release into our community despite the cowardly opposition.

I know how to fix computers. I have 9 years of cleaning experience. I have awards for social media work. As another blogger commented once, anything I touch turns into gold. There is little I cannot do — besides heavy lifting and construction work. I will leave that to the experts. But I do not believe and do not think that any kind of work is beneath me.

Then, by the end of this year, I want to start my own law firm. I am looking for community support for that, and I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has promised to pitch-in, volunteer, and given ideas on how to go about starting something from scratch. It is daunting, but then I look back and realize I founded DreamActivist from scratch when I was 22 and that has led to a sweeping, cultural and transformative change in how people see undocumented youth in this country. This is a much smaller project.

Besides nothing is more daunting and scary than packing up your life and coming to a new country. Life is a walk in the park in comparison to that experience.

I want to figure out how to run something where the paralegals are at the top and the lawyers at the bottom, where I have the capacity to support a staff of rogue activists, and where we all make decisions as a collective community. But I’m still thinking it through.¬†Here is to new and exciting beginnings.

In the meantime, I’d love food, and I’d love help with rent and it is not beneath me to accept donations or charity. You can reach out at prerna@prernalal.com.

A Time to Change: Unconscionable Contracts and Workers’ Rights to Use Social Media As Concerted Activity

Image representing Change.org as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Since I believe in open and honest communication and people are curious as to what transpired between Change.org and me, here is a fleshed-out version. It is not meant to ruffle any feathers but just a statement of facts that transpired over the course of the last few days.

I was told early Friday morning — before my last law school final and arguably what was supposed to be the best day of my life this year — that all blogging contracts were being terminated. Shocked and upset, I rushed off an email to the “Immigrant Rights” team, asking them to clarify what was going on and whether there was something else in the works.

I received a clarification: they would love to keep me on at 1/3 pay and did not discuss a new contract with me because I was doing my exams. I still don’t understand why it is acceptable to send me a notice of contract termination during my exams but not two sentences about a new contract. It is incompetent communication.

I was noticeably livid and posted on Facebook and Twitter about my disappointment over losing my job. Then I went to take my final exams. That evening, instead of celebrating with my law school classmates, I stayed in and received a copy of my NTA from DHS with charges that made no sense. I was in removal proceedings facing provably false charges and just lost my job, which would have been a tremendous help during proceedings. It was an extremely tense and stressful situation for me and my entire family.

I checked my email later, which had apologies from practically everyone from the owner of the site down to the Editor of “Immigrant Rights.” On Saturday, I was on the phone with the “Director of Immigrant Rights,” who tried to apologize once again and work through a new contract. On Sunday, I was given a new offer with an apology. I accepted the apologies, agreed with the offer and asked for a formal contract to be drawn up.

I don’t need to get into how I virtually built that site and lent credibility to several causes over the last two years. I wasn’t just a blogger — I went above and beyond the call of duty to teach people how to write, organize and even recruit new members for the team. I was a constant model for how to organize using social media. And that is an understatement. But I digress.

Late on Monday night, I was told that the company had issues with my use of social media. They felt disparaged and pointed to a contract provision that stated that I could never speak ill of an employee or the company under the old contract and going forward in the future. I was told an exception would be made for my past use but not going forward.

In typical law student fashion, I pointed out that the contractual provision from the old contract and the new one on the table was
1) unconscionable (standard boilerplate contract)
2) a violation of public policy (per NLRB v. American Medical Response of Connecticut, prohibiting a worker’s concerted use of social media is illegal)

The next thing I hear, there is no contract for me: clearly, a violation  of an agreement-to-agree in good faith.

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