Meet the Fellows

Rico Velazquez Angel

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Rodrigo Velazquez Angel, or Rico for short, was born in Comonfort, Guanajuato, Mexico. At the age of one, his mother decided to migrate to America with the rest of his siblings fleeing poverty and a country filled with no opportunities for them. He grew up in Tustin, California and became the first in his family to attend a university. Rico completed one semester at San Francisco State University, but was forced to drop out due to his financial hardships and his low-income status.

Despite feeling discouraged about his academic career, Rico persevered by dedicating his time to the workforce. He took on numerous positions throughout San Francisco: from scooping ice cream, serving boba, making coffee, pressing juice and frying burgers. Through this, he garnered qualities like emotional intelligence, independence, and problem-solving. His work experience gave him the confidence to believe that he was more than capable of completing his degree. Rico grew the courage to enroll in community college, where he surrounded himself with support, resources, and guidance to further his education. There, he earned three associate degrees in Political Science, Behavioral Science, and Liberal Arts. Rico proved to himself that he can take back his academic career, and is now one year away from graduating from University of California, Berkeley, with a major in Political Science.

Rico is a proud undocumented, Mexican, queer, and first-generation college student who wants to share his career with his mother, family, and communities. He aspires to utilize his degree to eliminate the immigration challenges of the Latinx community, as well as helping all marginalized people get equitable access to resources. He wants to further his academic career through law school, to become an immigration attorney. He believes that immigrants are the backbone of this country and deserve equal representation in the judicial system, and everywhere else. The DreamSF Fellowship will aid Rico in turning his ultimate goal into a reality: starting his own law firm and helping his mother retire from being a janitor.

As a DreamSF Fellow, Rico is placed at Dolores Street Community Services (DSCS), and is supporting the immigrant community with various immigration applications, helping attorneys with filings and research for court hearings, and more. He will also do intake for consultations with potential clients as well as assist with Asylee Legal Empowerment Project workshops: a community education workshop for asylum seekers.

During Rico’s free time, he enjoys keeping up with new seasons of Rupaul’s Drag Race and incorporating its comedy and fashion into his daily life. He loves to work out and as a vegan, he loves creating new Mexican-inspired vegan recipes. Rico also enjoys going to concerts and music festivals in order to liberate himself from society, and let his dancing set him free.