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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 48 & a lesson from @JuHong89

Over the weekend, my little brother and I tore up a box Mommy brought home. It held a small Christmas tree. We dressed it up with characteristically inartistic style. The last time we saw a Christmas tree in our home was the winter of ’07.

I realize I’m lucky to have known a united family and to have a family, albeit smaller over the years. I’m also blessed to have my mother near—even when she’s working 12 hours, 5 days a week, and studying English on Saturday mornings. At least, we’re in the same city, state, and country.

I’m not living my brother’s story: a home divided because his love is divided. I’m not living my half-sister’s story: a father who sends letters occasionally, and a mother who sends an allowance from los estados unidos. I’m definitely not living the life of an undocumented immigrant. I’m not out in the nation’s capital fasting for families (though it’s tempting).

As a legal temporary resident, finding means to pay for school tuition terrifies me, but I’ve yet to know the fear of being separated from my mother. El Salvador’s levels of poverty, crime, and natural disaster are very real. It’s the exceptional struggle of my native country that granted me rights to stay here, and it’s the struggles of Central American countries that have led many families to America.

People forget the immigration debate is not just over Latinos. Ju Hong, a UC Berkeley student from South Korea reminded me today that we’re also talking Asian Pacific Islander. When he interrupted President Obama’s speech earlier today, I’m guilty of feeling shame. I thought, that’s not classy. Immigration advocates are not simply yellers, and that’s the message President Obama seems to have taken.

Our youth are more than rebellious against authority. Young people are encouraged to be active in the political community, but when they speak out against injustices they’re reprimanded. Ju Hong has even been arrested in the past for his protests, and may have been arrested by security today if it weren’t for Mr. Obama’s patience.

Though I’m in disagreement with Hong’s outburst, there are rare moments when a young person gets a voice, nationally. A president visiting your state was one of them. And after all, with Thanksgiving around the corner, we can’t forget that there are families that will not spend this holiday season together.

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1 Comment

  1. Mon Dieu, Claudia! I am just feeling so humbled while reading your blog! I am even humbled by some girls from my own country, those that had to try hard to get here. I have always had life so easy. Sometimes I wonder if I ever had any real problems at all, or I just make them up in absence of anything to fret about.


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