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Thriving While Undocumented

03.31.2018

 Alejandro Flores, a Mi Familia Vota volunteer, relays insights drawn from his personal experience as a Dreamer on what organizing means for the Latino community.  He shared the following account at the Cesar Chavez Festival organized by the Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Committee: 

 

My name is Alejandro Flores and I’m a Dreamer. I was Brought to this country through no fault of my own at the age of seven years in 1997.

My mother, a single mother of two and a janitor, wanted to give my younger brother and I a better life: I can tell you that because of that courageous move, we have had a better life.

I was raised knowing that I was undocumented but not really understanding what it meant to be undocumented. At age 16 I needed to start working and I needed to drive, so I got a job and a driver’s license without having any documents. I didn’t yet feel the full impact of my situation.

After graduating high school, the overwhelming need for  really hit me. I had dreams of going to a four-year university but I wasn’t  able to apply for financial aid; I had no way to access any funds and my mother’s janitor salary was not an option. So I opted to community college.

I went to community college and discovered that community college was the best option and greatest opportunity for me. I decided to get involved with my school and peers, so I ran to become the student body president.

At the age of 18, I was elected as the student body president- my college’s first undocumented student body president. I represented 28,000 students!

That same year, I started working to register people to vote and I have not stopped since. Like  César Chavez and Dolores Huerta,  I understood the importance of voting. I realized that I couldn’t vote, but I could persuade others to vote as advocates for me and my community.

And so I continued to increase my involvement and organizing efforts. I was always speaking up and sharing my story to as many people as I could reach.

For the very first time in 2013 when president Obama through executive order said that if you came to country before the age of 16 and have no criminal record and pass a background check you could receive DACA. That year I was able to obtain ta 9 digit number that I lacked all my life.

With that number, I was able, for the very first time, to obtain a driver’s license and a work permit.

That work permit opened so many opportunities for me. I now work for an organization called America Votes where I get to work alongside awesome organizations like Mi Familia Vota. We continue to expand voting opportunities for communities like the one I grew up in.

Today we hear a lot of sad undocumented stories, I’d like to tell you that it’s not all sad. I’m a joyful undocumented person; my story isn’t the only one. We are in this country living our lives, thriving, contributing to society and working hard.

And we aren’t going anywhere

We are here to stay, we are here to prosper, we are here to live a joyful life!

And so I ask all those who can vote, to make sure that you ALWAYS VOTE. Vote for me, vote for my mother, and vote for our community.

Thank you.