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Josue Velasquez Higueros

Boston College

Social Work



Josue Velasquez is an undocumented student from Guatemala. In 2016 they became the first college graduate in their family to receive a dual bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Chicanx/Latinx studies from the University of California, Irvine. He is currently undertaking a master’s degree in social work at Boston College and hopes to become a clinical social worker. Over the last six years, they have worked as a case manager for Latinx men, Black and Latinx transgender women, and the general population living with HIV in Los Angeles County and San Francisco. Their involvement began at the community college level, where they spent many years working with the immigrant rights movements, the visibility of native and indigenous students, and the LGBTQ community. Combining their activism and art of drag as Buganvilia Thorns, they served as Miss L.A. Pride 2017, and the 48th and 49th Empress of Los Angeles and Hollywood with the Imperial Court of Los Angeles and Hollywood. From 2017 – 2019 they fundraised $22,000 to support other nonprofits, an education scholarship and funded the Buganvilia Thorns Angel of Dreams DACA grant to support the renewal process for LGBTQ DACA recipients in L.A. County.

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