In 2013, Stacyann Chin asked a group of 10 undocumented writers to write their 8-word biography. Today, I’m still working on that piece because I’ve discovered so much about myself since that weekend in San Francisco, but for now, this is what I’ve got:

Brief Bio: Alan Pelaez Lopez is an Afro-Indigenous poet, collage, installation and adornment artist from Oaxaca, México. In their visual and literary work, they explore the intersections of PTSD, undocumented immigration, Indigeneity, queer feelings, and Black flesh. They are a 2o17 “Pushcart Prize” nominee, and they were named one of “10 Up and Coming Latinx Poets You Need to Know” by Remezcla, and one of “10 Poets for the Revolution,” in Best American Poetry blog.  Their poetry and spoken word performances have been featured on college campuses, museums, libraries, living rooms, and rooftops. Follow them at @migrantscribble on all social media.


At the age of 5, Alan migrated to the United States, undocumented. As undocumented, they began to make jewelry at the age of 6 to sell on street corners, laundrymats, and public transit. Their career as an adornment artist began then.

At 15, Alan began to publicly identify as “queer and undocumented”. Though their undocumented status was poorly received by friends and educators, Alan took the rejection as a sign to find community elsewhere. An underground queer and trans community opened up spaces to question the ways in which migration, Blackness, queerness, and gender intersected, which is what led Alan to join the immigrant rights movement with a mission to work for migrant rights through a queer and trans lens.

Alan became artistically, socially and politically involved in the immigrant rights movement as DREAM Act votes were about to take place in 2010. In 2011, after the legislation failed, Alan slept 11 nights and 12 days on the steps of the Massachusetts State House to protest the criminalization of immigrants in the state through lobbying, community outreach, and interfaith organizing.

Since then, Alan’s political involvement with the undocumented youth movement has included facilitating roundtable community events with Senators and Representatives;  protesting detention centers in California, Texas, New York, and Boston; leading lobbying trainings in DC, NY, MA and CT; and occupying highways.

Although Alan has participated and been involved with many undocumented youth organizations, Alan’s political involvement is centered on a Black feminist framework, where the liberation of Black people will lead to the liberation of all people of color.

A the moment, Alan can be found in the San Francisco Bay Area pursuing a Ph.D. and teaching in the department of comparative ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley.


Check out the site for current work, bookings and ideas on how to amplify the voices of queer and trans Black (un)documented folxx!