Currently, 2.5% of undocumented students are able to attend U.S. colleges due to a lack of affordable aid and opportunity. What does it say about our education system that we deny access to millions of students for their lack of a single piece of paper?
7. Selena: The goddess of the borderlands, a phenomenal Mexican American singer, songwriter, philanthropist, spokeswoman, and fashion designer who is known as the queen of Tejano music. She was well known for her albums in Spanglish that captured the hearts of thousands before she was tragically murdered in 1995. Her legacy carries on as a symbol of empowerment, especially for Tejana and Chicana women. She said, “Be strong minded and always think that the impossible is possible,” a statement that embodies the courage of many people I came to know this summer.
10. Sanctuary: Known as “The New Underground Railroad,” the Sanctuary Movement caused a heyday in the 1980s and is doing so again. The religious and civil movement from the 1980s included 150 congregations and synagogues who openly defied the U.S. government by welcoming hundreds of thousands of Central Americans fleeing violent civil wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala into their sacred spaces. Today, the New Sanctuary movement has brought national attention for faith and immigrant communities standing between the government and those at risk of being deported. Men and women who are threatened with deportation orders have been welcomed into a dozen churches nationwide until their cases are closed. The movement cites the 1,000 deportations that occur daily as a moral crisis tearing at the fabric of our communities and families.
11. Indocumentalismo: An emerging socio-political ideological identity whose manifesto was written by my personal hero Raúl Alcaraz Ochoa and Daniel Carrillo. Indocumentalismo traces its roots back to the oppression, slavery, and genocide against Indigenous communities since the onset of colonization. “From the very foundation of the United States of America, Native and African people were completely excluded from freedom and citizenship,” Alcaraz and Carillo write. Indocumentalismo changes the narrative of “Mexicans aliens occupying U.S. territory” to “Europeans as the first undocumented/ ‘illegal’ group in the hemisphere.” The term is a call for a transformation and rebellion against the colonial, capitalist order to unify el pueblo and claim its sovereignty. The term reminds me of a phrase that I often heard from migrants this summer: “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” Indocumentalismo defies the logic of colonialism; it is the kind of world-reversal that I think calls us to pay attention.
In the words of Ricky Martin, “Xenophobia as a political strategy is the lowest you can go in search of political power.
This is an issue that unites us and we need to battle it together, not just for us but for the evolution of humanity and those to come.”