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Today, Estephania Mijangos, Cynthia Martinez, & Uriel Alberto rose their voices for our undocumented immigrant community. We need your help to get them out of detention and your calls are extremely important to make this happen. Like Senators Durbin and Reid often do, please ask our own representatives and senators to take action and intervene on their behalf and ask them to drop their ICE holds.
Photo courtesy of La Conexion
Cynthia Martinez: A#200-203-134, Estephania Mijangos: A#05-213-502, Uriel Alberto: A#089-828-718
Call Sen. Kay Hagan: (202) 224-6342
Call Rep. Brad Miller: (202) 225-3032
Call Rep. David Price: (202) 225-1784
Script: “Hello, My name is__________, and I am calling on behalf of_________, with an A-Number____________. I am asking that, like Senators Reid and Durbin often do, __________ (insert Senator/Representative) intervene on their behalf and ask ICE to drop the hold immediately. Thank you.”
Please check back in for further updates and ways to help us get the #Raleigh3 released immediately!
- My name is Cynthia Martinez. That’s me in the picture above at my first rally ever. And it was the first time I “came out” too. For the first time ever, I shouted out my immigration status. ”My name is Cynthia Martinez and I am Undocumented and I am no longer afraid!” I had chosen to come out of the shadows and leave my comfort zone. I had chosen to take a stand. Along with seven other undocumented young people from across North Carolina, I sat down at an intersection in Charlotte. We refused to stand up. We were then arrested and semi-processed. I say semi-processed because immigration officials processed us but later “dropped our immigration charges”. And they did so because they felt pressured by the publicity that followed this action. ICE is afraid when you and me come together and take a stand. It’s time more of us took a stand too!
I live in Sanford, North Carolina. Here, because my family and I are Hispanic, we are constantly targeted by local law enforcement. I grew up in Sanford since the age of two and given so, I think it’s safe to say that I consider this my home and community.
I am fully aware of the different laws and regulations that are established to keep me and my community in the shadows. Such programs include the Secure Communities policy (active in all 100 counties in North Carolina) and the community colleges admissions policy, which includes Central Carolina Community College right here in Sanford. Not being able to obtain a drivers license to drive legally is one among many more but right now it seems to be the biggest upset within my community.
Here in Lee County, the 287(g) program has not been implemented but something just as bad has occurred. We have become apathetic to the idea that running into road blocks is normal and getting a ticket is just part of it. We haven’t stopped to realize that maybe programs such as 287(g) haven’t been established here not because we are actually “liked” but because we contribute by paying ticket after ticket after ticket and in cases paying lawyers to handle traffic infractions, most due to driving without a license or an expired license. How much money hasn’t gone to the growth of Sanford obtained from inconvenient fees such as these traffic tickets? And the police are strategic about where they station themselves when they set up these license check points. There’s often one near my house where many Hispanic people live! Looks like racial-profiling to me.
Well it’s time that Sanford wake up to the injustices that surround our community where on top of paying federal, state, and local taxes we are still forced to pay for a ridiculous amount of tickets that we wouldn’t have to pay if we were able to obtain a license. Yet after all of this we are still told that we have to pay out of state tuition to go to the community college here in town. Does this make any sense? That while we contribute to our community, our local and state governments implement these harsh laws and policies? This is not right, it is not just.
We came to this country searching for a better future, for the right as human beings to go to school, to drive, to walk freely in our towns that we contribute to with every paycheck yet we hit a wall when we try to practice these rights. It is time that we as a community start standing up for our rights. This is a problem that affects us all for everyone once lived it. Whether it was pilgrims who came to this land fleeing religious persecution, the Native Americans who were killed by those pilgrims that were once persecuted, African Americans who were enslaved and in many ways still are, Asians who were sent to concentration camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, people from the Middle East who were targeted after 9-11 and Latinos who are racially profiled among other things every day. Everyone has lived it. Will you sit and watch as injustices keep happening or will you stand and take action as I have? The choice is yours.
Photos by J. Valas
Words alone cannot fully describe the scene as 7 undocumented youth –surrounded by nearly 200 supporters– took to the streets of Charlotte. If you haven’t already heard their stories, please listen to them in their own words.
Here are some photos of the brave, undocumented youth who took part in Tuesday’s action, you can find more pics of the rally, march and action over on flickr. Clips from the action can also be seen here.
In addition to the NC7, three other undocumented youth were arrested and detained: Isabel, Mohammad and Viridiana.
Cynthia Martinez from Sanford, NC wants to share her graduation story with you.
Graduation is just around the corner. What are you going to do when you graduate? If you have graduated already, do you have a story you would like to share with us? Send it to us at email@example.com.
My name is Cynthia Martinez and I graduated class of 2009 from Lee County High School in Sanford, N.C. I graduated with honors and as 1 of 2 Hispanic members of the National Honor Society. I was ranked 30th out of 404 students with a 4.01 GPA. I received a scholarship to St. John’s University, but because of my legal status, the only scholarship I could receive was $15,000. But mind you, a year of study there for my chosen major was $52,000. The difference as you can see, is a real big one. Putting a burden like that on my parents touched my heart, so I looked for other options.
I soon applied to Central Carolina Community College but to my dismay, I received a letter stating that because I was “an illegal alien, they were not obligated to allow me into their school.” That was my first taste of the discrimination that was soon to overtake many more communities.
Seeing no clear path as to my educational future, graduation began to seem very glum to me. I was no longer looking forward to graduating because I no longer knew what my future held. I saw everyone around me excited to be going to school and receiving scholarships and what not to places I knew that had my situation been different, I most definitely could have gone to. I saw people being awarded scholarships that I knew, had I had the chance, I could have received but I got nothing.
After graduation and two weeks vacation in Texas to “get my mind off things,” I began to work full time at McDonalds. Soon after that I was offered training to become part of the management program there which I took happily! McDonalds offers classes which they pay for and pay the employee to go to in order to learn proper business practices. Once you attend all your classes, they can transfer to college credit courses and one could have received their associates in business administration.
Business Administration was not my chosen major, but for now, having the opportunity to learn more into depth as to the ever-growing McDonald’s corporation sheds some light in my heart. For two years now since my graduation, the only form of learning that I have are these classes and while I am thankful for it, I can’t help but wish for more towards my educational future. So yes, I am undocumented, and because I lack a 9-digit number, I am not given the chance to further my dreams and enhance my education. A number. A number is what stops me–an accident of birth, even. We sit back and read the history of this country and we “aw” at the ridiculousness of some of the things people had to go through to be accounted for and what they did to make a difference and now I sit here dumbfounded at times to see how ridiculous it is that my life and thousands of others is being dictated by the presence of a 9-digit number!
What happened to “the land of opportunity?”