The day that gave me strength

3 years ago, my strength as an individual was put to the test…What occured on that day was something that guided my  life in the direction it is currently headed…Because of that day, life seems a bit more clear and I have a better understanding of what life has to offer.  

May 7, 2008, was the day that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided my family’s home, put my mom in handcuffs, had her get into their white van as if she was a criminal, forced my dad to walk into their detention center to turn himself in and caused the separation of my family. During that time, it was very difficult for my family and I to accept what had happened. There were many arguments between my brothers, sister and I, many nights where I would cry myself to sleep and there were many uncertanties about our future. For my parents, they had to experience something that is very difficult to take in; They were being torn away from their children and driven away, as if they were criminals, to a country in which they had not lived in for many years (but they knew they did nothing wrong to have to go through this). They were being isolated and deprived of the people that they loved (family, relatives and friends).

Despite the hardships that that day brought us, it was a learning experience for all of us. We have managed to work out a system that makes things easier for all of us. My younger brothers get to visit my parents and sister, Aileen (age4), almost every weekend and during school breaks. My older brother, sister (age22) and myself have found things that keep us busy and at ease while we wait for the day that we are all re-united. My older brother has 2 children of his own and is a luchador (mexican wrestler) and sister also has two girls and talks to my parents almost every day. We are doing a lot better today.

As for me,  I got involved with an amazing movement (DREAM) that inspires me everyday to continue. I have met many individuals who have taught me great things and made me appreciate life. I have met individuals within the LGBTQ community that express a strength that fuels me every day. Because of them I now understand that it doesn’t  matter what your sexual preference is, we all deserve to be loved; it’s a human right. We must fight as one if we want a better tomorrow.

One thing that I have learned these past 3 years, as an “undocumented” individual, is that we must always keep our heads up. Although at times, it seems as if there is not light at the end of the tunnel, we can and will get through this. It is just a matter of keeping optimistic. We can not keep feeding negativity with more negative thoughts because we will prevent ourselves from moving forward. We must not hold grudges towards anyone, we must not hate nor envy. We must accept things that have happened to us and learn how we can turn it into something positive. As an example, I hold no grudges towards the immigration officials who put my mom in handcuffs; I will not waste my energy in hating them rather I will use my energy to make positive change and spread the love that everyone deserves. Those who hate, do not deserve more hate. We must look towards the good things in life while acknowledging the injustices we face and fight to change that. 

 We must no longer be afraid to learn, breath and live.

I want to thank all of you who have been there for my family and I. Through you, we have been able to heal during these hard times.