My mom is my driving force to go to college. She gave up her hometown, her native tongue, and her family to give me and my brothers a better life and education. I want to go to college to prove to my mom that all the sacrifices she has made were worth something. I want to go to college to prove people, who have the wrong idea of DACA, wrong.
I am a Dreamer and I deserve an education. I’ve worked too hard and have been through so much to make it to the biggest moment of my life and be denied.My family and I have been living in fear since the day we woke up not knowing what our future holds. We’ve lived in fear ever since the Trump administration decided to end the DACA program. We’re scared of uniformed ICE officers knocking on our door ready to seperate us. One of my biggest goals is to become an immigration lawyer to make sure no immigrant knows that fear. Immigrants, including me and my family, are under fire.
Our immigration system is broken, and I want to do something about it. Immigrants are scared to go to law enforcement, scared that if they do they risk being deported. I want all immigrants to know that they have rights, and I want them to be able to trust me. I want to be someone they won’t be afraid of, and they can go to without any hesitation when they need help. Being an immigration lawyer, I could help many immigrants from being discriminated against and hopefully from being deported. To reach this goal I’m going to do what I’ve always done, work hard.
My mom, a single mother of four, has shown me that hard work pays off. That if you put all you got into it, you will succeed. I am willing to put all I have to reach my goal of becoming an immigration lawyer. I plan on making an impact in the immigrant community here in Lincoln. I also want to bring to light the struggles DACA recipients face in our community. I want to educate people on DACA, and the only way of doing that is by telling my story. I’ve recently just started sharing my story, and I will not stop. My story is one to be heard, and I will do all I can to make it be heard.
I’ve been part of the TeamMates program for 5 years, and one of my goals is to become a teammate. My teammate has helped me through one of the most difficult years of my life. She’s someone I trust and look up to for advice. I want to be that kind of person to someone who is in the same position I was five years ago.I am one of the Presidents of the Latino Club at Southeast High School.
Together as a group we brainstorm ideas on how to educate more people at school about immigration. There are only three DACA recipients in our club, one of them being me. Not only is it a safe environment for students to be able to talk about their experiences, but it’s also a great way to support one another. We’re all fighting the same fight. We are in the minority and are going to be constantly judged, but coming together in clubs like this, we can truly help each other succeed in life.I am a volunteer at El Centro de las Americas, a center open to all Latinos that want to enroll in GED classes or Citizenship classes. This nonprofit organization exists because there are so many Latinos that seek to get their GED, learn English, or want citizenship tutoring.
It is a perfect environment for anybody who wants to learn. My role at El Centro de las Americas is to help Latinos, who want to get their citizenship, study and prepare for their Naturalization exams. The main thing that has been an eye-opening experience for me is seeing them succeed and get their citizenship. They work full-time jobs and make the time to come in for two hours to study for their Naturalization exam.
The people that I’ve helped can now live without fear of getting deported. They can claim their children and make them citizens too, which will give them better opportunities. It’s a chain of events that starts out with me putting in time to help them.One of the biggest obstacles I have faced, and still face, is discrimination. There is not a day that goes by that my mom isn’t judged for her thick accent. At a young age I discovered that I have to work harder for what I want because I don’t look or talk the same as the rest of my classmates. During middle school I’d walk through the halls hearing other kids call me “wetback” and “Mexican burrito.” During those moments I was embarrassed of where I came from, but not anymore.
An obstacle my family and I have faced was when my father left us. He left us with no car, no money, and broken-hearted. I learned a lot about my mom in the first years without my dad. I learned that she is a strong independent women that will work hard for her family. She took a hobby, baking, and turned it into another source of income. She baked cookies, after working her full-time job, to sell at the Farmers Market every Sunday morning. This was an obstacle, together as a family, we jumped over. Another challenge I have faced was when I was followed home one day and attacked near the corner of my street because of my race.
What only seemed like minutes on video felt like a lifetime. With my face on the curb hearing the cars rush by I prayed that someone would intervene, but nobody did. The numerous cars that passed by as I was being attacked speaks volume about the distance between those who are not affected by bullying and those who are. After a terrible encounter with the police, who said nothing could be done since my attacker was a minor, my mom was desperate to make a change. With the help from Thomas Inklaar from Inklaar Law we created a bill called Frida’s Law. This law seeks to criminalize bullying behavior that occurs off-school grounds and also seeks to hold bystanders responsible.
Our goal for Frida’s Law was to require the aggressor’s sentence to include counseling, victim impact awareness classes and community service. With the assistance of Senators Al Davis and Patty Pansing Brooks the Nebraska Legislature approved and signed into law on May 27, 2015 LB525, Frida’s Law. This was one step forward in the fight for protection of the victims of bullying and providing a voice to the innocent.I worked hard to prove to people that I am not an alien, that I’m not here to take opportunities from others and that I am here to stay. Education is my key to a better life, and as a young kid I learned to always work hard in school.
My mom planted a seed in me, she told me that an educated woman is a powerful woman. I worked hard to move up into more challenging classes and to do well in these classes. I gave all I had to make sure no other kid would go through what I went through. Thinking about all the kids that were afraid to stand up to their bully, that didn’t have a voice, made me work harder for Frida’s Law. After countless interviews, where I had to relive through every moment of my attack, I pushed forward to be that voice many kids didn’t have. My mom worked even harder to show me, an undocumented immigrant, that we have rights too. She worked hard to empower me and give me strength, even though she lacked it. I am the person I am today because of my mom.
She is why I work hard to achieve something I want completed.