131 Stories Meet a DREAMer

I Support AB 131 – Gerson Cortes’ Story

As a child, Gerson Cortes spent a lot of time staring into space, imagining what his life would be like when he grew up. The dreams were never the same, but they followed a basic path: I would sometimes come home from an excavation, shovel in hand, and a priceless, ancient artifact cradled in my arm.

Or, I would get home from a long day on set, throat sore from yelling commands at the crew. And others, I would arrive home from a long book signing tour, where thousands of people lined up to buy my newest novel.  But always, I would return home to my kids, my dog, and my husband. As a teenager, Gerson was blessed with the gift of awareness.
He became aware of his undocumented status in this country. He became aware of the limitations brought on by this. He became aware that dreaming like his friends dreamed, was irrational and pointless, no matter how smart he was. So dreams stopped being dreams, and became plans. I planned to maybe graduate high school, get a job like my uncles had, forget I’d never failed a test, forget my AP courses, my hope for a little blue house with a big green back yard.
But as an adult, Gerson stumbled upon a group of people who would let him, once again, re-imagine his life. He claimed the title DREAMer, and allowed himself to do just that. I spent a lot of time staring into space, imagining what my life could now be, and this time, i had a plan. I started college late, but I started college. I could only afford two or three classes per semester, and this semester I had to do without books. But whatever the pace, I’m moving toward my degree. AB 131 will not only help me achieve that dream;
It will also let kids know they don’t have to give up on their own.
131 Stories Meet a DREAMer

I Support AB 131 – Bupendra’s Story

My name is Bupendra and I support AB 131. Ethnically Indian, I was born in Fiji and I came to the United States when I was two-years-old. Six months later, I became undocumented. At the age of 23, I became undocumented and Unafraid.

I never knew what it meant to be undocumented; all I knew is that I had a passion to learn. I was exactly like the student sitting next to me, learning about the values this country was founded on, believing that those who work hard can succeed in America. As sappy as it may sound, obtaining an education felt like my calling. Education is the light that I shine down the dark tunnel, to urge, challenge, and undermine the fear of not knowing my obscure future.

I have been on the Honor Roll since kindergarten at Eucalyptus Elementary School, I won academic medals. I took on an average of five honors and advanced placement courses a year. I graduated in the top five percent of my high school graduating class. I was accepted to CSULB, CSUMB, CSULA, CSUF, UCLA, UCSC, and LMU. Thanks to AB540 I was able to pursue my undergraduate Business Administration degree with a minor in Speech Communication at CSU, Fullerton.

During my first year at CSU, Fullerton I commuted by public transportation, traveling two hours to campus. Thankfully, my teachers and scholarship donors believed in me enough to award me with scholarship to fund my education. Still I had to scrape together the funds for the following year by working at any job that came my way. I would forgo any desire for material possessions because the desire to have a degree from a university was more important to me.

In May of 2010, I became the first person in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. In January, I will start my graduate studies in Speech Communication with emphases in Intercultural and Organization Communication at CSU, Fullerton.

AB131 means that I will be able to focus more on my studies, remain a productive member of society, and to make a difference within my community. AB131 means that I will have access to 1% of the funds that I contribute to when I pay for tuition. AB131 means that means that I will be able to focus on my studies during graduate school. AB131 means that I will be able to further my education so that I can participate and contribute to the state’s economy. AB131 means that I will have a chance to attain my dream of a Master’s degree.



131 Stories Meet a DREAMer

I Support AB 131 – Marisol Granillo’s Poem

AB -131
By Marisol Granillo

Art Work by Vivi

Undocumented and unafraid

Never giving up on my
Optimist until the end with a
Courageous spirit, my eyes see the
Unseen, the AB-131
Miracle that will
Enable me to open the
Next door
Encounter my
Dream of becoming a successful individual in this great nation.

Documents will not stop me from
Reaching my dream and
Enter to the
Academic system in which I
Must learn the truth,
Equal rights I demand for I am a human being with