In 2002, a group of undocumented students in East Boston High School gathered to prepare for their futures. Although, because of Massachusetts immigration laws, some students’ futures were more concrete than others. Due to their status, undocumented students were not able to afford to attend college because they were not granted in-state tuition rates. Several undocumented students decided to question the status quo, and from then on, they knew that if they wanted to make a change, they would need to organize and fight for what they believed was their right. These students then created the group GOALS, which later formed SIM.
The students of GOALS decided to create a legitimate organization that would fight for undocumented students, and thus the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) was established in 2005. The organization’s mission was to train, engage, and mobilize young leaders across the state, advocating for higher education rights for all immigrant students.
As a project of the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), SIM collaborated with various groups to launch the “Higher Education Access For Immigrant Students” campaign. This culminated in the “Why We Can’t Wait” action, where over 400 supporters gathered at the Massachusetts’ State House to demand equal access to higher education for all immigrant students.
After a failed push for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) in mid-2007, SIM shifted its focus to challenging state policies that created barriers for undocumented immigrant students throughout Massachusetts. By July 2007, the Board of Higher Education passed a resolution allowing certain immigrant students to receive in-state tuition.
In 2008, SIM transitioned from MIRA to become an independent organization, continuing to grow and later becoming a founding member of the national United We Dream (UWD) Network, the largest undocumented youth-led organization.
SIM pushed for an Executive Order to expand in-state tuition benefits for all immigrant students in 2009, leading to the formation of several chapters across the state. The fight for the Dream Act in 2010 resulted in “Coming Out of the Shadows” actions and the “Brown Is Beautiful” campaign.
In 2011, SIM launched the “Education Not Deportation” campaign and the College Access Program (CAP). By 2012, SIM participated in a collaborative effort that led to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, providing Dream Act eligible students with a work permit and social security number.
In 2016, SIM saw the birth and growth of several teams, including the East Boston chapter, the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project team, and a successful Deportation Defense campaign. In response to Trump’s election, SIM launched the DEFEND AND DEFY plan, vowing to protect our community and fight back against oppression.
SIM and Unafraid Educators co-authored the Learn Without Fear Policy which was implemented in MA at the state level through the 2020 Police Reform Bill.
During the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, SIM along with community partners were successful in passing the Ordinance on Surveillance Oversight and Information Sharing and also a ban on the use of Facial Recognition Technology in the city Boston. SIM leaders were also part of creating the first-ever school policy that addressed the right to information privacy.
In 2023, we embraced a significant transformation, rebranding ourselves as Stories Inspiring Movements (SIM). This change reflects our evolved mission and broader vision to empower and uplift all immigrants through the power of storytelling and shared experiences.
Our new mission is to create a supportive and inclusive community for immigrants from all walks of life, using storytelling as a catalyst for personal growth, leadership development, and social change. We aim to dismantle systemic barriers, promote equal opportunities, and ensure that immigrants have a strong voice in shaping their futures.
As Stories Inspiring Movements, we continue to build upon our legacy of advocacy, mentorship, and community building, expanding our programs and reach to serve the diverse needs of our immigrant community. We are committed to creating a world where all immigrants have the resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances, and where their stories inspire positive change in society.