Jeanette Acosta was a fierce advocate for social justice. Jeanette passed away after a brave battle with cervical cancer on December 18, 2017

We profiled Jeanette as a Founding Ally for Migrant Justice because she played a substantial role in establishing CDM’s individual donor program. We’re keeping her profile on our site to remember Jeanette’s powerful spirit, fight and legacy.


Jeanette Acosta is a law student, an immigrant rights and education reform advocate, and a Founding Ally for Migrant Justice.

After Jeanette Acosta won a Fulbright Research Grant in 2009 to study migrant remittance-funded scholarship programs for students in Zacatecas, she saw firsthand the profound effects of migration and remittances on families and entire communities in Mexico. Volunteering with CDM in Zacatecas during her research experience and in Juxtlahuaca, Oaxaca during an intensive Mixtec-language immersion program through the U.S. Department of Education that she participated in after her Fulbright, Jeanette understood the importance and significance of CDM´s work—not only for migrants, but also for their families.

She remembers joining CDM´s outreach team in Oaxaca, Adelina Vásquez Cedillo and Rebeca Rodriguez Flores, for a know-your-rights meeting in a Mixtec-speaking community near Juxtlahuaca. They had prepared a bilingual Mixtec-Spanish presentation. Jeanette remembers the many people filing into the room who “were eager for information and for clarity” about the rights of migrants who work in the United States. Many had family members who were working in Oxnard, California—where Jeanette´s mother and grandfather had worked in the fields years before. Her grandfather as a Bracero from Michoacan and her mother as a young girl throughout high school.

Hearing the parents who spoke about “their sons working in Oxnard”—and who wanted “to make sure that their kids would be safe”—Jeanette saw “the power of information being shared. It was important that the parents could hear this information in the language that is most comfortable to them. That was really special and had a clear impact.” These experiences cemented Jeanette´s decision to not only attend graduate school in public policy, but also to attend law school.

Jeanette continues to support CDM today because CDM´s “transnational organization is needed. Immigration is that—it´s transnational. It´s fluid. We need to make sure that people are protected when they migrate to the U.S. and when they return home. I strongly believe in CDM´s mission, vision, and its work.”