My mom’s fears of facing deportation stopped me from traveling to other states around America. I slowly learned to confront the facts that I was not like the rest of my classmates. I could not travel to France with my French class, attend sport competitions outside of the state of California, or even debate competitions and conventions for organizations I was highly involved in. One specific example was when my French class was going on a trip to France to learn about the culture at a personal level. I really wanted to participate on this trip because I had worked so hard over the past few years to learn the language and culture. I received a certificate for being one of the few students with a high grade in my teacher’s class. The multiple hours I spent studying for this class led me to become fully immersed in the French culture, so when the opportunity to actually see and live the experience came up I became really excited. I let my imagination run wild and thought of the multiple experience I was going to have on the trip engaging with people from France. It wasn’t until I talked to my mom about this, that my ideas completely shattered. I got into an argument with her, not because I was mad at her, but because I was angry of the fact that I had worked so hard to accomplish something and I couldn’t do the same things my fellow classmates were doing. I struggled in class listing to my classmates and teacher talk about the monuments and places they were going to visit in France. It frustrated me because I knew I didn’t have the same opportunities they did. But I kept my head held high.
However, after this incident I am continuing to fight for my goals while overcoming the other hindrances ahead of me. Even after overcoming the struggles of not being able to travel, one of the biggest barriers was overcoming my mom’s fears of deportation. When I found out I got into UC Berkeley, I was super excited because I worked so hard to get into this university. That excitement soon turned into dismay when I told my mom about it. She told me that I could not attend the school because it was in a different location from where we lived and that I ran too many risk by being away from home. The idea of me moving to a place that was six hours away from home scared her and it didn’t help that some of my uncles expressed the same feelings. I was completely overwhelmed with everything that was going on around me. I was frustrated because I had worked so hard to accomplish my goals of attending a prestigious university, and even then I was being refused the privilege of attending. I devoted my life to school. I woke up at six o’clock every morning to attend a seven o’clock morning class and my day finished at ten o’clock in the night after having attended track practices and three hours of community college classes. I had many arguments about this subject with my mom and I always ended up crying due to the fact that I was being denied the college experience that many of my friends were going to have. I concluded that all my hard work was irrelevant because I couldn’t do anything with it. I never thought that I would get through to her, but at some point I made her realize that she couldn’t keep my goals grounded because of fears.
Today I’m a freshman at UC Berkeley majoring in Molecular Toxicology and Pre-business with a minor in Theater. I just finished my first year as a freshman and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. It has been a struggle to finance my way through school because I’m not able to apply for jobs due to the fact that I do not have social security number. Therefore, on my vacations I have to work many different service jobs that allow me to obtain money without the need of a social security number. My mom and I pay our taxes every year just like the rest of America, I am just not able to get financial aid. Even though I have to continue to work really hard to pay for my way in school, I stand with you today stronger than ever before. I still contribute to society and fight for rights that affect the only country that I know and love, America. My mom still fears for my safety and I know that she worries every day for my presence in this country.
This Thursday after finals, I am flying out to meet with the CAD walkers to join them for the summer. Being a walker means that I can encourage many more students just like me to be open about their status and to not be afraid to stand up for what they deserve. This opportunity will allows me to reach young people who are just graduating from high school since I am eighteen years old and risking so much in order to make America a better place. I have a lot of goals in life but I realized that they can’t be established if I don’t fight for the passage of the Federal Dream Act. This will give us the opportunity to encourage many people to not be afraid and to stand up amongst the crowd because they are not alone in this struggle. Being a walker also means determination. Determination to strive for change and create alliances among communities in order to overcome the undocumented struggles of students. Being a walker means I get to fight for these individuals and strive for change to help them obtain a better life. I recently became open about my status and it won’t mean anything if I DO NOT use that bravery and fight for the rights of undocumented students everywhere.