Today a member of the NYSYLC asked me, “Angy, why do you keep going?”
Being undocumented isn’t something we can put in the back of our heads. There are things everywhere that remind me of who I am. For me, when I wake up it’s the first thing I think about and sometimes in my dreams I’m undocumented too. You’d think that I could escape reality while I sleep, but that’s not the case. Even after hearing every “no, you don’t qualify” “illegal means illegal” “go back to your country” “you don’t belong here” I still fight everyday and at first, I never really understood why.
Honestly, sometimes I feel like giving up on everything, dropping out of school and just staying home or going back to Colombia (that’s where I’m from). But, what would that get me? A half completed dream that my mother and I want to see fulfilled. I refuse to let all these anti-immigrant remarks and people get the best of me. This is more than a “legalization” struggle, but a psychological war that measures character and patience. They want to see who will break down first. I will not let the anti-immigrant remarks and living undocumented keep me down. I keep fighting to prove to all those non-believers that I WILL become someone in life. Many neighbors and family friends have expected the worst from me. If I decide to drop out of school I will become another statistic and that’s not who I want to be. Many times I think to myself, if I can’t do anything with the degree I’m working for, why am I even trying so hard? I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way. It’s not just a piece of paper; I see it as proof for all those times someone has said, “They’re just taking up space and resources.”
What if I was to walk away from my dreams? How would I explain to my family that I gave up? I know living undocumented is a struggle and that it’s always going to be hard but i can’t let that break my spirit. I’m the oldest in my family, the one who sets the example for my younger siblings (they’re citizens). The chances of my siblings dropping out are higher if I do it too, and that’s the last thing I want for them. All the struggles and sacrifices my mother has made to keep me here with a roof over my head and clothes on my back would go to waste. Right now everything is blurry and confusing, but I know someday it’ll get better.
At times I’ve wondered if it would be better if I just disappeared. Whenever I feel like I’m going to lose my mind I always go back and remind myself why I decided to advocate for the Dream Act in the first place. Seeing and reading about other dreamers that are in worse situations than me but continue to fight give me hope and keep me holding on. Facebook groups like: Please Do Not Jump remind me that someone out there needs my strength to keep going. Our own NYSYLC members tell stories of how they struggle, like myself, with issues like identity and fitting in. There are so many dreamers all over the country that share the frustration and pain I feel. Whenever I feel like putting an end to all the tears I remember all the struggles before ours. Struggles like the Civil Rights movement and the Chicano movement had to endure years of pain and suffering for what was right. Every inch of my body knows that it WILL get better and I want to be around to witness it. I want to inform those after me about all the inequalities us undocumented students face every day in the same country we’re raised in.
Readers, remember to send me your stories or if you need a space to vent or needadvice. WE ARE HERE! You are not alone
I’ll be here to answer questions, or talk things out, with anyone. Remember, the insecurities and fears you have, someone else is them having too!
Don’t be afraid to speak out!
If you are a fan of the Ask Angy posts..
The views expressed by the author on this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC).