As the feelings of happiness, anger, and disbelief begin to overwhelm my heart.
I was shocked to hear that President Obama just signed an order of deferred action making the Department of Homeland Security change the way they enforce immigration law. Now, thousands of young people who were at a loss because of their lack of immigration status will be able to have a work permit and they no longer will be deportable immigrants.
Details of who qualifies:
1.) Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2.) Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
3.) Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4.) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
5.) Not be above the age of thirty.
I am happy, because I feel that hundreds of people I have met, and come across in my life will finally be able to use their degrees they have worked so hard for, they will be able to help their families advance in life, they will be the one documented person at home, able to be a resource for their entire family.
They will feel free… we will feel free. We are free.
I am angry, because I think about my friend Virginia Gutierrez that was deported when she was attempting to get her car out of the tow yard, she had just been granted a full ride scholarship to study nursing at Arizona State University. I also think of many others who have already been deported, who are over the age of 30, who have a record, who have not completed High School. I think of Joaquin, who committed suicide last year, because he felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. He though he would never reach his dream of becoming an architect.
Mr. President, in your hands was the power to do this and more, long ago. Yes we are thankful that now, we have a victory. However, on your hands in the blood of Joaquin, and the sad fate of many other students, whom its to late for.
Those actions cannot be deferred.
I think of the 13 years I have been fighting for human rights, and of all the effort many people have put into this battle. I think of not eating for days as we hunger strike and fast in prayer, in resistance, in hope. I remember organizing against Proposition 300 in Arizona as if my life depended on it, because it did. I remember the depression I felt as I realized the xenophobia of Arizona voters and “leaders.”
I remember not having a place to live, no money to pay my phone, buy food, or go to the doctor with. I remember the many amazing jobs I had to pass up because I did not have a 9-digit number. I remember being terrified of the police, sheriffs, highway patrol and any other authority figure that could deport me.
I remember going to Washington DC to testify about SB1070 and Dream Act, and meeting with congress people. Telling them what I had been through and that I had Dreams of going to grad school, of making a difference, of being a legislator, a professor, building schools, non-profits…but nothing happened.
Arizona became more hateful, Alabama followed, and many other state promised to make immigrants lives unlivable, in order to push us out of the country.
I am trying to make sense of all this. Political moves, where the fate of many families are at stake. Many celebrate because of the Administrative Relief that students are obtaining, but what about of parents, our aunts and uncles, what about our friends that are already deported, dead, or dropped out? What relief can politics provide for them?
This is a critical, and personal reflection on today’s events. I do celebrate this victory, because I like many Arizonians know, victories are hard to come across. However, we cannot stop here.
We do not only want to work, we want to live.
We want to learn, travel, and vote.
Truth is for many years during my childhood I never pictured myself in college.
Most of the reason for this was because of the negative messages I would receive about college as an undocumented brown girl. It was not until I met one of my first mentors Dr. Christina Marin then a Ph.D student at Arizona State University, that I learned that Ph.D’s and college was were not only for white people.
Being told that people like me only belong at community colleges and that only people with papers were allowed at the universities gave me the coraje (courage) to fight. Now, I am thankful for all my trials, because that coraje has taken me to many beautiful and unbelievable places in my 24 years of life.
Currently, I am taking steps towards a doctoral degree…Since Dr. Marin went to my quinceañera, I have met incredible women and men who are transforming our society in an academic and community rooted level. I want to do both, I want to be an Academic, community centered, ARTivist. Working from a spiritual, personal, political, and cultural place within me. Wherever I go I carry in my heart and honor the stories of my Arizona community.
So to give you all an update on what is happening:
I have applied to various programs in Ethnic Studies, Chicano/a Studies, Sociology, and Education. I pray that the higher path be in front of me, and that it all falls into place. I ask for clarity and direction.
Before I felt like the world was crushing me,
now I feel like this:
It has been about two months and I still forget that I have been able to accomplish my goal of getting my Masters from Harvard, and fundraise 50k dollars.
It has most definitely been a journey of restless work, grouped with passion, faith, and people power. I’ve proved many people wrong, and have impressed some others, but what matters most to me is that I showed myself that I can do anything, that I created this place in my life, where I currently stand.
I ask myself WHAT NOW, and many days I have no clue where to go, I am letting myself be guided by the same power that has carried me through the fight.
I am in California, ready to being a PhD. Ready to change the world with others, after proving to myself that I could change my world first.
For the year I will be:
-Applying to various PhD programs, fellowships, scholarships, ect…
-Working for something amazing (not sure what, and I am up for hire)
-Taking care of my little sister, guiding her as her “guardian” my goal is to provide the stability I wish I had when I was trying to become someone in life.
-Becoming a better me, for myself, and those that surround me.
Always seeking the light…
So far I have done amazing things like: Took an incredible trip to Souther Mexico, (Yucatan, Cancun, Mexico City, Puebla).
I went to a camp with a bunch of amazing peers who are children, grandchildren of black panthers, peace movement builders, and who still fight for dignity of themselves and many others.
(I received the Dean’s Marshall Award from my program, and was honored with a medal from Harvard Graduate School of Education, I was also asked to hold the Masters of Education flag and lead the class during the graduation ceremonies)
I want to say that I am so grateful for all the people who have crossed my path, for my family that allowed me to walk on my own path, and for the blessings God has always given me.
I am thankful that I have a community that supports me and loves me enough to sell food at church, make art, and fundraise in all sorts of ways so that someone from our barrio can graduate from Harvard, despite living with out papeles all of my life I know that if you are determined to go after your dreams you can achieve it.
I dedicate this degree to
-All the people struggling to survive in the shadows of political oppression.
-Students who fight for their education and opportunities.
-My birth and adopted families.
-My future generations.
Sin papeles o con papeles yo voy a lograr mis sueños.
Nunca dejare que una persona o una ley me haga sentir menos, por no tener documentos, por ser de familia humilde, o por tener piel morena.
Gracias a Dios por mi comunidad y por las ganas que me dio de vivir, estudiar, y luchar.
Gracias a las tantas personas que me hicieron parte de sus familias y me abrieron los brazos cuando necesitaba amor.
Si Se Puede, Si se pudo, y si se podrá!
Today I had a nightmare.
Then I woke up, and realized that this had already happened.
In my dream I lived with my sister and mother. It was nighttime, my mother was asleep and I was cleaning my room. I heard my sister say there were cops outside. I quickly looked out the window and there were about five cop cars and a helicopter, with about ten officers walking around our house. There was also a woman there talking with them.
In my dream I was a citizen and I quickly went outside to ask them what they were doing there.
They told me they were there to arrest my mother.
I cannot remember most of it, but I vaguely remember a brown woman in my dream telling me that they were sorry that they were not doing it by choice. But that it was “their job.”
They came in the house and searched everything, making a mess of all our belongings.
I was strong in my dream, but when I woke up, just like when I was a child I wanted to run to my mom and tell her that I had a bad dream, but I couldn’t.
Because I realized that she was in Mexico and that this had already happened.
I can’t stop thinking about it.
I can’t stop thinking that my mom cannot enter the US for ten years, and that she will not be with me when I graduate from Harvard, and even typing this out hurts so much.
I need to leave for class in 5minutes.
I don’t think I can get it together in that amount of time, but I will try.
Te extraño mama.
I am only $7,000 away from completing my Masters degree at Harvard. I’m scheduled to graduate in May, 2011 and I need to pay my outstanding balance now. Your $10, $20, $100 tax-deductible donation will make a difference. Si se puede!
Please Click on the Donate button above, and thank you for your support.