About Me

Brief bio:

Dr. Alan Pelaez Lopez is an afroindigenous (Zapotec) poet, installation and adornment artist from Oaxaca, México. Their work attends to the quotidian realities of undocumented migrants in the United States, the Black condition in Latin America, and the intimate kinship units that trans and nonbinary people build in the face of violence. Their debut visual poetry collection, Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien (The Operating System, 2020), was a finalist for the 2020 International Latino Book Award. They are also the author of the chapbook to love and mourn in the age of displacement (Nomadic Press, 2020). While they are an artist, Alan has also been organizing with undocumented migrants in the United States for over ten years and firmly believes that art is a portal into the future.

You can read Alan’s writing on Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Poetry, Catapult, the Georgia Review, and more.

Breve biografía:

Dre. Alan Pelaez Lopez es une poeta, artista de instalación y adorno afroindígena (Zapoteca) de Oaxaca, México. Su trabajo atiende las realidades cotidianas de les migrantes indocumentades en los EUA, la condición negra/afro/cimarrona en América Latina y las unidades de parentesco í­ntimo que las personas trans y no binarias construyen frente a la violencia. Su poemario, Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien (The Operating System, 2020), fue finalista del Premio Internacional del Libro Latino. También escribió el cordel to love and mourn in the age of displacement (Nomadic Press, 2020). Alan ha trabajado como organizadore comunitarie con inmigrantes indocumentades en los EUA durante más de diez años y cree firmemente que el arte es un portal hacia el futuro.

Puedes leer los ensayos y la escritura creativa de Alan en Teen Vogue, Refinery29, The Andy Warhol Museum, Everyday Feminism, Poetry, Catapult, the Georgia Review y más.


Alan Pelaez Lopez, Ph.D., was born in Mexico and constantly migrated between the state of Mexico, Mexico City, and Oaxaca’s Costa Chica. At five, Pelaez Lopez migrated alone to the United States, undocumented. As a minor, Pelaez Lopez began to make jewelry as a source of income, which is where they found their passion for art.

In 2010, Pelaez Lopez became artistically, socially and politically involved in the immigrant rights movement as DREAM Act votes were about to take place. In 2011, after the legislation failed, Pelaez Lopez helped organize an 11-night and 12-day action on the steps of the Massachusetts State House to denounce and testify against the criminalization of immigrants in the state. Later, they took on leadership positions with the Student Immigrant Movement and shortly after, with the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project.

As a young organizer, Pelaez Lopez was mentored by undocumented Black migrants from the Caribbean and South America, which is what led them to develop an unapologetically Black and queer feminist vision for liberation. Through community organizing and strategizing, Pelaez Lopez has facilitated roundtable discussions with U.S. Senators and Representatives; protested detention centers in CA, TX, NY, and MA; and led political and popular education workshops in Washington DC, NY, MA, VT, CA, GA, TX, IL, PA, and CT.

In 2013, Pelaez Lopez was named a recipient of the National Youth Courage Award for their commitment to uplifting the voices of LGBTQIA+ undocumented immigrants in the United States. They accepted the award in New York City and were an honored guest at NYC Pride. In 2014, they moved to Los Angeles to complete a fellowship at the UCLA Labor Center where they launched their first visual storytelling project and have since worked in the field of public and digital narrative(s).

Pelaez Lopez is a former steering committee member and co-founder of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, and the Black LGBT Migrant Project (BLMP).

They earned a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

At the moment, Pelaez Lopez lives between the San Francisco Bay Area and Mexico City. They are currently undertaking two manuscripts: Chambalés, a trilingual choreopoem about AfroIndigenous (Zapotec, Mixtec, and Chatino) children who shape-shift into dragonflies to avoid settler-violence which has received support from the Museum of the African Diaspora, Submittable, and Brown University; and trans*imagination, a theoretical poetry collection that thinks through detention centers, federal prisons, plantations, and modern nation-states as geographies invested in sequestering and dominating the imaginations of those deemed noncitizens.

They are also in development for Alien Enemy/ Enemy Friend (co-written with artist and filmmaker Jess X. Snow):

    • Drama/Fantasy/Period | North America | English/Mandarin/Spanish | 90 min
    • In a San Francisco restaurant, the young lives of Grace an undocumented Chinese kitchen worker, and Itzel, a Black server, become irreversibly entwined when they discover they have time-traveling abilities they cannot yet control.