This is my story about how my cultural identity was affected by the 2012 campaign.
Leading up to the 2012 Presidential election, there were many talking heads talking about the ‘Latino vote’. It seemed to me that this conversation led to a discussion on immigration. Initially, this angered me. I kept thinking “immigration is NOT the only topic Latinos care about.” I’m a 4th generation Texan! I’m very proud of that. That also means no one in my immediately is facing an “immigration issue” … imagine me using my fingers to imply quote-unquote immigration issues.
And then, I started to listen to the conversation about immigration from others besides the talking heads. There were so many children pleading for their parents to not be deported and any stories of amazingly talented students who can fulfill their dreams, goals and careers because of their status. More and more my heart began to feel that could have been my family; I’m only a few generations away from the same issues. It started to become real for me.
I attended a screening of The Dream Is Now, a immigration documentary about REAL people in America facing immigration issues, in San Antonio. I wept. I cried so hard that the gentlemen next to me had to ask if I was okay. Watching the stories on a screen made me realize this issue was not a “Latino” issue but a HUMANITY issue.
I’ve been learning about my family’s history. For the most part, I know my family on both my mom and dad’s sides were in South Texas and would migrate to the Panhandle area of Texas to work in the cotton fields. Most settled there. Growing up, we rarely traveled back to South Texas to visit and even though I knew of family in Mexico, we never went to visit. I grew up only really knowing my immediate family. I met my great grandma a few times but unfortunately I didn’t speak Spanish so I didn’t get to ever ask her about her experience or journey to Texas from Mexico.
I’m for sure 4th generation and possibly 5th generation Texan. But what if I weren’t. What if I was the one at risk of losing my family? What IF mis abuelos were deported? I might not even be here. And Que Means What surely wouldn’t exist.
I share with everyone that I started this blog out my on going search for my cultural identity. What I realized from listening to immigration stories and immigration issues is that a one point in time immigration was a beginning point of my cultural identity. And that has made me begin this journey of sharing, growing, learning as a mom, wife, professional and a human being. I’ve been inspired by simply looking back in to my family’s history. I can work toward any goal I choose because someone in my family came to Texas. So, my interest and heart has grown for others to have the same opportunity. There’s so much work to do. Work for immigration reform … in my mind, it’s humanity reform.