The past week, since our story became public in The Washington Post, has been surreal, but not surprising.
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I am referring to the outpouring of support and encouragement that we have received (and continue to receive) from our friends, family members, Dreamers, coworkers, and strangers – some in Canada, welcoming us to their beautiful country and wanting us to meet their family. We are exuberantly grateful for these messages of kindness because they reinforce something special: the compassion of human beings for each other.
On Election Night 2016 in America, as mentioned in the article, I saw state after state turn red. I sat there crying and thought, “Wow, all of these people are against me.” The results of the election made me feel personally attacked and downtrodden. In my mind, anyone who would vote for that current U.S. administration must be in 100% agreement with all its practices and values. In my heightened state of fear and worry, I thought that all the people in each of those states, as a generalized collective whole, must feel the same mocking superiority of hatred as he does towards various groups, and particularly undocumented immigrants.
But I quickly shook off that feeling and focused on all the incredibly caring Americans who helped me get to where I am today. Later, when I met My Ford and we started our relationship, these same people again opened their arms to help us repeatedly – all the way from Georgia to Trinity Washington University. More so, I joined TheDream.US Scholarship Program one year ago, after graduation, and it widened my network of immigrant rights activists and champions who work tirelessly for our success and prosperity, including Mr. Don Graham and the entire TheDream.US Team who have been with me since I was awarded the Scholarship in 2014. My Ford and I wouldn’t be where we are now without generous and compassionate human beings, regardless of nationality.
My Ford and I wouldn’t be where we are now without generous and compassionate human beings, regardless of nationality.
This week, the article helped me see this compassion at work more powerfully. Touched by our story, Ted Mitchell, the President of the American Council on Education, wrote “How long will ‘dreamers’ have to live in limbo?” in a passionate letter to the editor. On Facebook, friends wrote emotional responses of sadness and disbelief that things had to reach this point; they shared the article themselves with lovely words emphasizing that they understood our plight and why we made this decision, showering us with love and appreciation. It is all truly overwhelming (in the good way) and heartwarming.
So, what are we up to now?
We started this website to give back to the undocumented community in the form of a podcast show and weekly blogging (this being our inaugural post) which will showcase stories of undocumented immigrants who have achieved their goals despite the challenges that came with their status. We want to show others just like us that life doesn’t have to be lived in half-measures, but that they owe it to themselves to achieve their dreams and be happy.
This weekend, we recorded our introduction (to be released on August 6th, with new shows coming every first and third Tuesdays of the month) and it was an amazing feeling - collaborating and creating with the intent to help others. So make sure to sign up to our mailing list to receive a notification of when our first episode is up, as well as more reads from us on life being undocumented and documented.
Together, we want to have meaningful conversations around what it truly means to be documented or undocumented and to foster an understanding and education that brings about lasting change.