Ever since I begin to understand a little bit more about how injustices were oppressing my community, I hadn’t realized that there are actual people who really dislike people like me. I profoundly believe that people begin to create assumptions, and opinions based on the amount of information they hear about people like me. This is precisely why I tried to answer some of the though questions.
Now, you may ask, who are people like me? Well, as I have explained before, my name is Jose Rico Benavides. I am a community college student. I am Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unashamed to not only speak out against the many injustices that affect the migrant community, but also take action about it.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hate is defined as an “intense hostility usually driven from fear, anger or sense of injury.” Is it hate what they really feel? My guess would be yes. When someone calls you “an illegal immigrant,” using the word illegal is very inappropriate when referring to a human being. No human being is illegal!!
In the morning of June 1, 2011, Rep. Dale Folwell from Forsyth County, NC approached an NC DREAM Team member, yours truly, and asked him: “Are you the one that called me a coward? Are you the one?” Of course, he was referring to this press release the NC DREAM Team issued in regards to the introduction of HB 744. Rep. Folwell came with a posture and body language that was disrespectful and intimidating asking these questions, and more over when he went on and asked, “Do you have the balls to tell it to my face?” At that moment, I felt frightened and fearful that the representative would lash out at me if I would have answered honestly, so I remained silent and kept my cool. Folwell escalated at the end of the conversation by asking, “Are you an illegal immigrant?” At that point, I decided to completely ignore his behavior by not answering his questions that surely attacked the integrity of my team and mine, I simply responded: “I am not going to answer to that.”
If you read the press release, it clearly states:
“Requiring children to register their immigration status with their schools will inevitably result in discrimination, harassment or exclusion. Plain and simple, the legislators who support these bills are unprincipled cowards.”
Rep. Folwell, we are attacking the issue of asking children for their immigration status as a qualification to enter K-12 public education. We are not singling out any representative, just how you felt. We are simply calling out the bills and politicians who support anti-immigration legislation that attack our communities and children.