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ELENA ATWOOD

Representing the Good Fight: A Refugee’s Story

Elena and her family were forced to flee their home country of Chile in the early 1970s when the government was overtaken by a vicious, right-wing dictatorship. They arrived in the United States as refugees with nothing but the clothes on their backs, the struggles of a foreign culture and language the next challenges to face. She was a child upon her arrival and thus was forced to navigate her adolescence and young adulthood living in poverty and with parents who, although trying to adapt, didn’t understand American culture and could not yet ‘get ahead.’ Because she needed to help support her family, Elena dropped out of high school to work, ultimately facing teen motherhood, homelessness and discrimination.

Her story is one of struggle that has led to a deep understanding of self and an ability to share herself with insight and compassion.