~This Is Violeta’s Story:
Even though I have worked for the Dream Act since 2001 I knew it was time to do more. When I was in the process of deciding if I should come here and share my story I told my mom about it, she said nothing and just listen but I knew I had her support. When I got home and found a little note that read, “If you want your DREAMS to come true you just need to wake up” this gave me that last push to realize that it was my turn to come out.
Today I decide to step out of darkness not only for myself and my family but also for you my fellow DREAMERS! For those of you who are new to this movement and feel uncertain about your future and for those who like me have been in this struggle but still have not found the appropriate moment to step in to the light. I won’t lie, this has been one of the hardest things I have done but “only the one that risks to get far in life knows how far can actually get”. For a long time I went through a phase of being afraid of my future I was frightened of not being able to accomplish my DREAMS and my family’s DREAM of a better life through education. For generations my family has believed in the power of education. Education is the only way to progress and end oppression. My grandmother was an indigenous OTOMI woman, an indigenous group from the center part of Mexico. For those who don’t know to be an indigenous Mexican woman is a much subjugated situation. Due to the oppression and the poverty my grandmother grew up in she never had the opportunity to go to school so she never learned how to read and write. However this hardworking mother of 20 knew the importance of education. Together, my grandparents managed to put all 20 of their kids through college. With little money but a lot of hard work they gave my uncles, aunts and my mother a great education and school instruction.
I arrived to New York from Mexico for the second time ten years ago. As a 15 year old teenager I was really excited to see the city that never sleeps. Little did I imagine that by staying longer than the date my passport stated I would become undocumented and all the consequences this would have on for my life. During my high school years I thought that once I became bilingual the road to college would be easier. Nevertheless, when my brother, who is two years older than me, started applying for College and looking for financial aid options I became conscious of the meaning of being an undocumented student. He got enrolled at Kingsborough Community College but I did not truly understood the feeling of not being able to go to the school of your choose till I was in my senior year. I wanted to apply to a prestigious school and scholarships but I knew that I was going to be turned down so, I did not try. Today I tell everyone to never stop trying!! I enrolled at Borough Manhattan Community College, to be sincere I felt defeated I was not very happy to be attending a Community College because I knew that I had the ability to attend what I consider a much better school.
It took me a while to realize that far from being defeated I was blessed; this was the first step of many in completing a College education. I’m fortunate because I live in one of the few states that gives the opportunity to undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. Above that I am blessed to have a MAGNIFICENT mother, family and friends that always support me and have never stopped believing in me. Four years ago I graduated from Manhattan Community College and now I’m attending Hunter College. I’m still an undocumented student and from time to time I become frustrated and sad; I REFUSE to call myself a defeated undocumented student. I refuse to be defeated not only for myself and my family but also for those new generations. I feel like it’s my duty to make a better road for those that will come after me so no DREAMER feels alone, depressed, defeated, undervalued or scared just because of the lack documentation.
That fear of uncertainty went away when I decided to make this journey of obstacles part of my DREAM. I am no longer fearful of what is ahead and you shouldn’t be either. The future is the result of the present and ours is full of DREAMS but mostly of goals that have been met and will continue to be accomplished with our efforts. I’m also coming out because I’m grateful! Yes, this might sound weird but I’m thankful to be a DREAMER; I know you might be saying “is she crazy? did she just say she is grateful to be UNDOCUMENTED?” and my answer is YES!!! Why?? Well thanks to my legal situation I have had the opportunity to meet you. All of you are wonderful human beings that make me feel accepted and fuel me to keep pursuing my happiness and equality for all regardless of legal situation, religion, race or sexual orientation. I have a DREAM that one day the DREAMERS in every single state will have the opportunity to be free and become recognized achievers. Remember what John Lennon sung, “I am a Dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one”.
My name is Violeta and I am UNDOCUMENTED UNAFRAID and UNAPOLOGETIC