MD²:Maryland Dream,My Dream
So I find myself doing a fellowship in the field of Public Communications. How does a person like me, who wants to become a medical researcher, and spend my time in a lab cut off from world, end up doing a fellowship about public communications, with 5 other exceptional students? That doesn’t make sense. Yet In the past few years, I realize that not making sense and encountering the unexpected, has been the norm in my life.
To answer the question, I ended up in this fellowship because I understand the importance of media in relaying information to the public, and the impact it produces on people’s lives. Personally, I can attest that media saved my life.
My mom brought me to this country in 1994, with the hope of providing me with opportunities she didn’t receive in her childhood; she grew up in a very impoverished part of India. My parents applied for permanent residency in the US, but were not able to attain it. After 15 years of struggling to attain a green card in the United States, my parents eventually fell out of status and were finally deported in 2009. My mother, a college professor working on her doctorate, was labeled as a “high risk” by one of the branches of the DHS. That’s something that will never make sense to me.
My lawyer, Mrs. Cynthia Katz-Groomes was able to get me an extension on for an additional year to finish my high school education. But after graduating, I was supposed to face the same fate as my parents. I was on the verge of being deported from the United States, the only country I have known as home since I was a year and a half old. However, under the guidance of my attorney, Mrs. Cynthia Katz-Groomes, the support of my family, friends, community and the vision of the media, I was able to remain in the United States and continue my studies.
The media saved my life by making my story heard. Mrs. Andrea McCarren of W-USA 9 first interviewed my relatives and me. Shortly after, the great folks at the Center for Community Change wanted to record a short video on my family highlighting the complexities of the US immigration system.
Often times, media paints undocumented/ illegal immigrants as uneducated, non-English speaking, brown men with mustaches who are out to smuggle people, sell drugs and commit violence. It’s absurd but true. However, media also has the power to challenge stereotypes, highlight the realities and bring truth to the issues that affect our community. I am very grateful to the media for doing the latter for my case. The media showed the public that this teenager from MD is a good student, a good friend, a hard-worker, a brother, and most importantly a human being, not a criminal, not an “ILLEGAL.” The media shattered the stereotypes. The Media saved my life.
I am just an average American kid. I happen to be one of thousands of undocumented Americans living in the US. This summer I’ll be interning at CASA de MD working to support the campaign for the MD DREAM ACT, a law that would allow MD kids, who attend and graduate MD high schools, whose parents pay MD taxes, to pay in-state tuition in MD universities and colleges, regardless of immigration status. It’s a matter of fairness. I hope I meet other undocumented kids with inspiring stories who will fight alongside the youth at CASA de MD.
I am looking forward to my summer experience, and I am much honored to be a part of the Frank Karel Fellows with five other extraordinary students and individuals.
My name is Ricardo Enrique Campos Alfaro and everyone knows me as Ricky. My main goal is to advocate for the Dream act. The Dream is very important to me, because it would provide me with the opportunity to continue with my education to become a doctor. The dream act would help me, and help thousands of other students who at the tip of our longs are asking for a chance to incorporate to the society, and to contribute to the country that we call home. I was born in San Salvador, El Salvador on June 14 1989, and I arrived for first time to the United States when I was 12 years old. Since then, my parents sent me to America to study for a semester and then I’d study back home since I only had a tourist visa and I was not allowed in the country for more than six months.When I turned 15 years old, my parents decided to send me with his family here permanently. I attended Revere High School at Revere Beach, Massachusetts. Nine months later,my parents immigrated to the United States and decided that were going to move to Southern California, where my grandmother lives. I lived in Los Angeles County for six months, and attended to Monroe High School for about half year. After 2 months of living in L.A., I started to make friends and assimilate to the culture while doing great in school. However, my parents decided we were moving because of the lack of jobs in this area. This was very frustrating to me, and it caused my grades to lower as a consequence. This was very hard on me as I felt that I had to start all over again. In December 2006, I arrived in Maryland. My parents enrolled me in John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring. Since then my goal and biggest challenge was to graduate from High school despite all these years I spent roaming from coast to coast looking for stability for me and my family. After a year, everything seemed to go well until something unexpected occurred.
In August 2008, a tragedy floods my life. After a strong stomach ache and a visit to the emergency room, a new challenge seemed to approach to me. Doctors diagnosed me with Osteosarcoma, rare cancer that was hosted in my lower back. I was sad and thought I was going to die, but worst of all I had to take a break from school for a while longer. Since the day I was diagnosed with cancer, my life completely changed. I lived in anguish of not knowing what would happen to me next. Being undocumented excluded me from qualifying for Medicare. My chances of getting well were far and at the same time getting a high school diploma was being pushed back. A couple of months later, with the help of many people, I was able to get Health insurance. Within a month I was in the surgery room at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where doctors extracted the sacrum, three disks from my lower back, and part of the pelvis in order to reject the cancer. After thirty hours of surgery, everything went well miraculously. Despite having been in a wheelchair for about a year, I was cancer free and ready to start school once again.
I began home school after 2 months from the surgery; I had very good teachers who supported me well. Unfortunately, the medical treatment I was going through was so strong that I could hardly concentrate and stay awake. Months went by and my improvement was remarkable; a year after the surgery I learned how to walk again. Once I recovered I went back to school, and six months later the most exiting achievement became reality: despite all the past adversities I was finally graduating from High School.
After my graduation, I enrolled at Montgomery College and each semester there was a challenge for me. My family is of low of income and therefore cannot help to pay for college, which is very expensive for me. With struggles, I raised money to pay for my education. To raise funds, I did internships, cut grass, washed cars, cleaned houses or I did anything that could help to pay for College. Being a dreamer in this country is very difficult, especially because I do not qualify for most scholarships, and financial aid is not an option in my situation. It was at that moment that I began to fight to get the Dream Act to pass.
My name is Claudia and I’m 17 years old. When I was 11 years old, I was brought to America by my mom who decided to come here due to relationship problems with my dad and the socio-cultural, economic problems with the government and people from my country, Bolivia.
We came here because family members offered their support and comfort to protect us when we were alone; when the time came we were still alone in this big country. My Mom said we were going to stay for a year, then two and the years went on.
As a child, I didn’t know the consequences of moving to a new country and the effects it would have. I thought it was a short trip we would take, but with time I realized I would stay. I didn’t really care; I just keep on studying and getting the best grades I could.
Last year, we tried to go back to Bolivia but disorder reigns there. Currently students, workers and professionals are protesting against the government because it’s not taking the right decisions. Indigenous leaders are what now make up the government; they made their native language the mandatory idiom in my country, every high school student is supposed to learn it fluently.
Now that I’m growing older, and I’m aware of things: I’m becoming worried, scared and preoccupied, Why? Because of my future, if The MD Dream Act is not passed; I won’t be able to get the education I’ve been working so hard for, I won’t be able to achieve my goals, my expectations, MY American Dream.
I’m a human being, I have the right to dream and achieve the dreams I have since I was a small girl.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity that was given to when coming to this country; I learned a new language, a new culture, and new people; Who made my new home and made me feel secure when I felt like I had nowhere to go when I felt empty and lonely. America has become my new warming secure home which offers me stability and a bright future.
When I finish High School I would like to achieve my dream; when I was little girl, I promised my grandfather is his death bed I would become a doctor. ever since, my ambition has been to become a neurosurgeon. If the dream act passes I would be able to study , get my education to become a doctor, and would be able to help people I need.
Today I ask everyone who is here with me today, to raise awareness about this important issue to Maryland’s Youth. Too give that studying opportunity to all those who are craving for that dream of being someone in life, for all those who want to something productive with their life and for
Colin Raye said“I laugh, I love, I hope, I try, I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry. And I know you do the same things too, So we’re really not that different, me and you.” My name is Claudia Quinonez, I’m
Undocumented and Unafraid.
I am an undocumented student who has many dreams and aspirations. I came to America when I was only 10 years old, I did not make this decission my self, but my parents did. I made my journey through Guatemala and Mexico for a complete month that involved many obstacles and pain through the path. I was separated from my brother 2 weeks into our trip. I was forced to lie about my identity in order to pass through many ICE officers, in Mexico. When the person that was bringing me here tried to cross the US and Mexican border with me, the ICE officers arrested us and said that I was under arrest for forged identity. I spent 17 days in a Youth Detention Center for underaged kids who were trying to come to this country undocumented. I met many kids who had been in there for many years. After the 17 days had passed, my parents finally got the authority to bring me to their home.
A year after I had gotten out of the detetntion center, I had court with a judge that would decide wheter I stayed in this country or left. The judge decided that he did not care if I did not have any family back in my country who could care for me, and he gave me a letter of depportation for the next month.
My parents decided that I could not survive back in my country due to gang violence and the fact that I had no relatives who could care for me, so we ignored the deportation letter and moved from our home. We have been living in fear for the past 7 years, but now I have decided that it is not right, since I am an American just like the rest. I, someday, hope to join the Air Force and defend MY country, America. I want to fight for the country I live in and that I am part for. I want to be equal, just like the Pledge of Alliance states “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”