Breaking the Silence for Undocumented Students

Story By: Cresencio Rodriguez, Editor-in-Chief

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After uncertainty of whether or not I would have the opportunity to attend college, I made every effort to quietly educate myself of the possibilities. I seeked help, did research on my own, made phone calls and sent emails.

I began at Fresno City College in August of 2013.

But why was there uncertainty? Why did I do all of this quietly and in the shadows?

I am an undocumented student.

In high school, I was completely unaware of the resources available. It was extremely difficult to commit to the college workshops and scholarship nights, and it was nearly impossible to dream of a college education.

I am now in my fourth semester at FCC and what once seemed as only a dream is now my reality.

I knew I wanted to study journalism before I left high school, but I was eager to get involved with different groups — namely, immigrant rights groups.

At one point, I served as the vice-president of the Students Without Borders club at FCC. SWB is a club designed to welcome, assist and empower FCC students who are undocumented.

I don’t leave behind the memories of those days. While I focus on my career and education, I encourage others to take that step towards change and join the movement.

Having taken part in actions that have led to change for the better within the immigrant communities, I have been empowered and most importantly, I have become unafraid.

I invite you, the undocumented Fresno City College student, to become unafraid and challenge the invisible boundaries you may have set for yourself.

There is a lot of work to be done in all aspects surrounding immigration. I encourage you to step into the world of change, to get involved with an immigrant rights group in your area, and bring change for yourself and your community.

As an order made by the U.S. President Barack Obama, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and an extension of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), makes its way through the courts in a legal battle between both major political parties, Democrats and Republicans, we must not forget how we got here and who made this possible.

Blood, sweat and tears of young and old immigrants has been splattered on the streets, steps and gates of this country in an effort to improve the lives of the 11 million that are here in search of a better life.

We don’t need a police force that will have us deported for simply reporting violence. We don’t need a mother to shed tears day in and day out when her sons are deported to a country she deemed unsafe and uncertain for her family.

We don’t need a family mourning the loss of a family member due to not having access to affordable healthcare. We definitely don’t need our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters left out of relief for some and not all.

We need something permanent. We need families reuniting. We need health care for all.

But we need the help of you, the student, brother, sister and friend. We need you to join the movement and bring this much needed change.

As undocumented students, we must stand up and make our voices heard. We prevailed by having the opportunity to attend college, now we must take that and empower ourselves to create something bigger — a future.

A future where we live without borders, and a future where we don’t have to make the choice of abandoning our birthplace.

While we can not vote as undocumented students, let’s take part in voting campaigns to elect the right people for the job. Let’s educate ourselves and push for officials we deem worthy.

Politicians, after all, are put in their positions to work for us, why don’t we put them to work? Stand up! They don’t say how we should live, we say how we should live. Let’s tell them.