I am a Dreamer

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By Viviana Mateo, high school student, Dreamer and member of El Pueblo, Inc.

Editor’s Note: We met Viviana when she was a guest on our Blogtalk Radio Show earlier this month. We were blown away by her conviction and maturity. She is our September She is Fierce Award Winner. We can think of no better candidate for the recognition. 

Politics is a loaded topic that has different meanings to different people. I, for one, never was interested in being involved with the political world. However, it all changed when I realized the significant impact the political world had in my everyday life.

I was introduced to politics my sophomore year of high school through an organization that is dedicated to improving minority communities. Once I was told about the injustices that were occurring, not only in my own community, but also those around me, I knew that something had to be done.

I quickly asked how I could get involved or if there was anything that could be done or just how I could help and I think that it was in that moment where my life was getting ready to take a big turn. I used to be oblivious to the injustices that were not only affecting myself, but those that I associated with on a daily basis.

Once I realized of all the problems that were going on, I asked around to see if the people around me were aware as well. I was sad to find out that many were aware of the injustices going on around them but either felt helpless or felt as if they couldn’t make a difference so they wouldn’t even try. I was confused as to how someone can see all these problems before their eyes and how it is affecting them and their loved ones and still choose to not take a stand and do nothing. It was here, where I decided that I would not be a bystander and let these injustices ruin communities.

I was going to stand up, not only for my community, but also for other communities who felt as if they had no say in what was going on. I did lobbying in Washington and even at home, in North Carolina, for in-state tuition for undocumented students. I was at rallies for Black Lives Matter and for the Women’s March. I even talked to representatives to see their point of views and how they could show support towards the communities that were being affected.

One issue that brought me out of my shell and put me into the front of the fight for social justice was the issue of DACA being rescinded. It was an issue that not only affected me directly, but it affect my family and many people that I know. I was so angered by the whole issue that I started doing interviews with television networks and newspapers because people needed to put a face to the issue and to see who exactly they would be affecting, I needed my story to be heard. I took every opportunity I could to have my story shared and to talk to those people who agreed with the decision of Donald Trump.

It’s easy to make a decision that would negatively affect a community, but when you look at the children whose lives will be fundamentally changed, it’s hard to be able to be okay with that decision. Most interviewers asked me why I decided to come forward and tell my story, since most people in my situation have been laying low and are in fear, and I would respond saying that I felt it was my duty. I owe it to my community for fight for them, even if they don’t find it in them to fight. I know we are all scared and we are back to living in this constant fear and I understand why someone wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to share their story and risk people finding out and to those people I say, that it is okay.

If you don’t feel comfortable enough, I will speak for you, I will stand up for you, I will fight for all of us and now more than ever, we will not back down. I am scared, but I use that fear to fuel my determination in bringing justice because being silence is not a choice. Now more than ever, they need to hear us and they need to see us because we are not toys whose lives they can play with, we will stand up and fight.

This whole journey of bringing social justice to my community has definitely been a roller coaster and it opened my eyes to many more issues that I was not aware of. I’ve been referred to as an activist and I never thought of myself as an activist nor did I think that I was worthy of being called one. An activist by definition Is someone who is trying to bring either political and social change. If i fall under the category of activist then sure, you can say I’m one or don’t say I’m one or just call me what you will, either way my determination will not stop with this issue, I will continue on even after this issue is over. I fight for communities because I find that it is my duty as a human. To my DACA community, I see you, I hear you and I love you.

     




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