Spring comes with a mix of flowers, new dresses, caps and gowns walking down the street. Yes, it is graduation time and if you are one of them walking graduates let me tell you how proud I am of you. Yes, YOU. Come on do not be shy, stand up and take the bow. You, my friend, colleague, supporter, acquaintance, and even if we have not met in person yet, I congratulate you too. And I send you a sincere abrazo from the 7 train seat where I am now.
If you are undocumented, as I am, this moment might be one of mixed feelings. You might see the completion of your education as the continuation of uncertainty, as I did for some time. But soon I realized that my degree was more than a piece of paper. And yours holds more than that too. Your degree is the tangible representation of all the accomplishments for you, your family, teachers, and everyone who helped you and supported you along the way. Let that piece of paper hanging on the wall, remind you of all the sleepless nights, of all those moments of frustration and happiness you have had. Let that degree be the inspiration and not the cause of depression.
I graduated in 2009 with honors holding an Arts and Sciences degree in Education from a public college in New York. At the time, around these days I was feeling depressed, anxious and very frustrated because despite getting all the best regards from professors and family members, and great job offerings I knew that my future
was uncertain. Of course, I would not tell my parents of how I felt because they were all pride and walking happiness calling my grandparents and relatives in Mexico to announce the big news. I, their little girl was the first one in my family to graduate from a college en el gabacho y sin tener papeles. Paperless, yes undocumented I am. And I thank everyone who believed and continues to support my dreams.
Today, remember to thank those who have helped you: your family, friends, teachers, counselors, you name it. Come on do not be shy and take that time.
I understand that coping with such blue feelings is not easy. However, I found the best way to cope with such emotions. Back in 2007, I was lucky to find the YLC, folks who like me had a vision for social change and equality for all regardless
of immigration status. It is here at the YLC where I found my opportunity to do something to change the uncertainty about my future. In this small office, I refill my spirit with hope, valentia, fuerza y mucha motivacion every time I meet another student who smiling tells me “I am hopeful to find out that I can go to college, despite of what my school counsellor said” Because as my mom says, “la esperanza es lo ultimo que se pierde.” Yes, hope IS the last thing that fades away.
Today, if you my undocumented friend are walking with your cap and gown feel proud to be there. Make sure you smile for the pictures. And don’t forget that YOU can also do something to change your faith.
Unete a nosotros y con mucho orgullo di “I am undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic!”