My name is Keish and I am Undocumented, Unafraid, Unashamed and Unapologetic.
The 4 U’s define who I am.
But I wasn’t always so. Just a year ago, I was like many undocumented students out there: Hidden, afraid, ashamed and apologetic of my status, of my situation.
I wasn’t and still am not the “Star” student. Didn’t have the 4.0, didn’t have the 2400 SAT score. But I did realize that just because I don’t have the grades, or I am not in a private ivy-league make my parent’s sacrifices or my struggles in any way “less” or “insignificant”.
I found out that education isn’t just behind a desk, in front of a board with graded sheets of paper.
I also found out that there is a great community of us, struggling to be heard, fighting for our rights. And this past summer, I decided to join them. I was sick and tired of being afraid, ashamed and apologetic. Of what? Of attempting to attain higher education? Of dreaming to go to an university?
Hence why, I am no longer afraid. I am unashamed of the obstacles I had to overcome as an undocumented. And I am UNAPOLOGETIC of the sacrifices and struggles my parents made to give me a better opportunity here in the United States. This is my home. No one can take that away from me.
What is your story?
- Keish K.
- Keish K.
Hello, my name is Ana and I am an undocumented student. Coming out as undocumented has never been hard for me, but I know that for others it can be an uncomfortable subject. To me being undocumented means I get judged for the wrong reasons. It means people are going to make it harder for me to follow my dreams. It also means that it's harder for my family and I to live our lives peacefully. Being able to come out as undocumented to other people who understand what it means to be undocumented is incredible. There were people who understood how I felt. They have been through the anger, sadness, and confusion that I have been through, and it was great to talk to someone who could help me because they have lived it, or because they are going through the same situation. To any student or any person who is undocumented, I would recommend coming out. It frees you from any doubts you may have, or it just shows you that you're not alone. There are other people out there going through the same situation that are willing to help or listen to what you have to say. I know being undocumented is sometimes hard to understand, but I also know that we are all here to support one another undocumented or not.
- Ana V.
- Ana V.
Growing up, my friends and I went to the same schools, we went to the same church, we had the same dreams, and we believed we shared the same future. However, after 9/11, that all changed. While tragedy struck our nation, tragic policies struck us from within. At that time, the government and society drew a line between us. For the first time in our lives, they said we were different. Because of a nine-digit number, we were different. Suddenly, it didn't matter what schools we attended. It didn't matter that we all worshiped together. It didn't matter that we shared a community – a childhood. It didn't matter. Somehow, because of a nine-digit number I barely had memorized, our government labeled my friends and began denying them their dreams and their future.
As we got older, we tended to not discuss it. If we didn't speak of it, maybe it will go away. We wrote letters in support of the DREAM Act. We contacted our representatives, and that was as far as our actions went, but as the years passed, we saw our political support declining. As we approached our junior year of high school, we had reached the point where waiting patiently was no longer an option. It was either speak out or never be heard.
To me, coming out as an ally means that you no longer sit on the sidelines. You no longer accept the status quo. You speak out for what is right, while letting others have the spotlight. Too long has society drawn distinctions between us, and now it is our chance to reverse that hierarchy.
I chose to speak out, because it hurt me to see dreams being crushed and families ripped apart. I was tired of society separating us. I could not allow injustice to be the norm. Six years later, I am still speaking out, and I will continue to do so. Journalist Chris Floyd once asked, "Will we say that we stood silently by, shrugging our shoulders, filling our bellies, closing our eyes? Or will we be able to say: We saw. We dissented. We resisted. We condemned."
I knew my answer – what will yours be?
- Jessica M.
My name is Yovany, and I have no documentation for being in the U. S. A.
I am 21 years old. I have been living in the U.S for 16 years. Most of my life.
My mother like me has lived in the U.S for over 25 years.
Coming out the shadows?
Why would I tell society to label me as an “Illegal,” a “Wetback,” or an “Alien?” The list goes on but racism and segregation hurts.
Like I ever do that.
Those were my high school thoughts. Ever since I could remember I knew I was different.
I was to avoid cops at all times. I couldn’t go to college after graduating in 2010.
My life became dull. After graduating instead of going off to receive a well-rounded education, I started to work at McDonalds, and after 2 years, I was wearing a blue shirt signifying I was a manager.
I became hungry. I became hungry not for a Big Mac, but for something more in my lifetime. The beginning of 2012, I started school in Freedom University. Founded in 2011, Freedom University is a volunteer-driven organization that provides rigorous, college-level instruction to all academically qualified students regardless of their immigration status. F.U. believes that all Georgians have an equal right to a quality education. Separate and unequal access to higher education contravenes this country’s most cherished principles of equality and justice for all.
After F.U., I joined G.U.Y.A. The Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance, an undocumented youth led organization. We commit ourselves to fight back against the hateful, racist, misguided legislation and rhetoric being crafted in state legislatures. So ask yourself, when ignorance turns into law, which side will you fall on?
In August, I became part of the No Papers No fear: Journey to Justice. The tour began on July 29th in Phoenix, Arizona. We headed through key states, including New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Riding the bus alone is a great risk because of the checkpoints and profiling that has become so common, but the ride was also an arena for mobilizing - where we build with those who have a story to tell, who have realized the only secure community is an organized one. We have overcome our fears and are ready to set a new example of courage. We hope this country and its officials will be brave enough to follow. The tour ended in North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention where 10 of us were arrested for doing a civil disobedience calling out Obama to see if he will be on the right side of history and stop deporting/separating families. The coalition between immigration and the police was also highlighted. Jail was cold and no fun. We were there for 10 hours. Luckily, no one was deported.
I have matured over the year and one of the most important things I have realized is that it’s not about me and what society labels me, but rather us as a community. It’s so important that you come out of the shadows to liberate yourself and to strengthen as a whole. I have come out the shadows to demand an immigration reform that is changed from exclusion to inclusion.
- Yovany D.