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    Spring backward. #photoaday #flowerstagram #firstdayofspring #spring #lastofwinter ❄️❤️ So yesterday, I ran a poetry workshop at a middle school and hearing the words from these youth, I feel a lot better about the world. One boy wrote a poem & was very shy about reading it. I offered to read it for him. To my surprise, he wrote about people wanting freedom and not being “illegal.” I hope he finds the courage some day to read the poem because these days, hate voices itself louder than love. Our kids deserve better role models. I didn’t grow up thinking about my immigration status, but I think many children have to now. 💔I’m at a very low point in my hope bank. I’m taking notes on how to say goodbye to a country. I think one way is love and one way is poetry.
#loveislouder #happyworldpoetryday This Sunday I made it to church at a Unitarian Universalist congregation. I arrived as a panelist for an immigration and human rights discussion. My audience was majority White. I started with a poem and then my college journey narrative. It is a heavy feeling to be a person who potentially faces deportation or undocumented status and to stand in front of an audience that though sympathetic, cannot imagine what your world is like. They listened to me and the other panelists very actively. One of the panelists, Klara Bilgin, showed us this poster-size cover of Time magazine’s March issue with her own addition “Why America?” At the end I was surprised that most people had comments rather than questions. When we say immigration is a controversial issue or a “hot topic,” it’s true. I got to see it today by people commenting on their experience traveling abroad without borders or their observations of how much labor is expected of undocumented immigrants. Many of them were proposing solutions. I wish Congress were as productive as these people were in their 15 or so minutes to comment and ask questions. #rageatCongress #votesmart #speakup Little sister poem. Be woke.❤️ #ajamonet #poem
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1,000 miles: step 39

My goal is to teach creative writing at the college level. I have several years to wait, but for the past year I’ve had the opportunity to tutor at my local library.

For an hour, this teenager and a grown adult become student and teacher. Many of my “students,” are people who have never touched a computer or whose knowledge is limited. I can tell when we first meet, he or she assumes because I am so young, I will know everything about the computer. I don’t. In fact, I discovered a while ago through a friend, I don’t even know my operating system from company brands.

But I know enough to teach the basics. And when I say teach, I mean teach. Every one learns differently. I’ve had to slow down my speech or simplify my language with English as a second language learners. I’ve had to elaborate and define with the curious. I’ve had to find images, illustrate my own, point, and demonstrate. This is one-on-one teaching.

I can’t imagine handling an entire classroom… but it is something I am willingly to grow into, particularly since meeting people is thrilling. I believe we’ve all got something to teach each other.

Many of the people who visit me at the library are going through changes in their life. Some need a change of career, and some have unemployment-blues .

Over a month ago, I visited the Department of Education as part of a panel of students to discuss how immigration status and education can overlap, and what happens when they do. Although the audience wasn’t big, they were definitely curious. And so was I. The other students in the panel were recent graduates and had gone through several hardships. Hearing their stories, complicated in their own right, reminded me that a struggle isn’t its own outcome. It’s not the end of the line. It’s a perfect opportunity for growth.

I get closer to my ultimate goal by reminding myself: everyone is going through challenges–I’m no exception, and therefore not alone.

taken at the Department of Education, photographer Joshua Hoover

Claudia at the Department of Education, photographer Joshua Hoover

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