By Maria, KIPP San Antonio teacher
From my placement in the classroom, to being granted temporary protection through DACA on my 25th birthday, to paying an average of $40,000 out-of-pocket in 7 years to obtain my Bachelor’s degree, to migrating at the young age of 3, my life is one full of valuable memories. These memories have navigated me to a position where I am currently paying forward my painfully earned knowledge to our next generation of community leaders.
At an early age I was forced to make peace with the fact that my life as an undocumented immigrant was going to be one full of challenges. Living nervously with constant fear became the norm for me as well as for my family. I was told to keep quiet, settle with what I was given, fear police lights, and simply exist in a place that is not mine and never wanted me.
Initially, I thought this discussion was to be talked amongst individuals in my same predicament but in today’s political climate, our stories are valid and powerful as we continue to slowly come out of the shadows. For those individuals that argue we are “stealing their jobs,” I work in an urban area of San Antonio, Texas, the same community I grew up in, where these positions are needed to be filled. There is nothing more powerful than working and learning from students in a community one grew up in.
We are and will continue to enhance and fortify the fabric of this country regardless of the outcome, knowing our lives are at risk with a simple pen stroke. In the end, I know I will be standing on the right side of history teaching my students on a daily basis the importance to stand up and speak out for what is right. We need to focus on restoring love and community across our country and rescinding DACA is the reverse message. We need and will continue to voice out the need of permanent protection without an expiration date for ourselves as well as our families. Our families are the initial DREAMers who risked everything in order to provide us with a life of opportunities, after all, isn’t that the American Dream?
Thank you for valuing our stories and support in these dark times. Let us all urge Congress to takes action in our favor.