Monday, November 28, 2011

Undocumented and Awkward Eps. 3

In this episode of Undocumented and Awkward, Dreamers adrift touch on the topic of driving and car ownership. It's funny how the issue of transportation lends itself to awkward situations. My experiences include getting the third degree from others about why I won't learn to drive. Turns out that after a while, telling them that you're undoc and legally shouldn't be driving isn't an answer in this day an age.

Sure, I can learn to drive and I can get a car, but one thing I've learned in life is that just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should do it. Course everyone is different. Some folks want to drive and want that independence/freedom that comes with a car. Asking friends for rides and taking the bus gets old real fast. To me, car ownership means responsibility that I don't really want right now, and honestly can't afford.

Having a car means that one has to have a steady job/income for gas/maintenance and what not. It means being a safe driver because you technically are driving without a licence and can be pulled over at any given time. Los Angeles is a car city, and while public transportation is there, it's not the most convenient in the middle of the night. Which inhibits your social life and job opportunities as well.

While I won't be getting a car anytime soon, I will end up learning to drive, mostly because I've enjoyed the few times I've gotten behind the wheel :D And riding my bike around town has worked to my advantage all this time and it's not something I'm going to be giving up soon either.


Friday, November 25, 2011

How I met Julio Salgado

Julio Salgado is down to earth, always fun to be around with, constantly putting a smile on anyone's face with a joke and always willing to contribute and help out anyway he can. I had the pleasure of meeting Julio for the first time in June of 2009, when Dream Team L.A. had their first action as a newly formed group. It was a mock graduation at City Hall. Julio was covering the event as an intern for Gustavo Arrellano, who had me and one other person on his then radio show, at KPFK, to talk about the event. Small world huh ?

Ever since then, I've seen Julio here and there at events or at panel discussions talking about his art work. That's why I figured, since CNN en EspaƱol profiled him, check the video above, I'd figure I share not only the vid, of Julio talking about his art work and how he uses it to support the movement, but also to tell the story of how I first met him. And I'm looking forward in continuing to learn more about him and sharing a smile or two.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What it's like to be Undocumented in Alabama

It's easy to take things for granted. Staying inside your bubble whether it's in your neighborhood, city, state and even being around your own people and circles. It's easy to have a sort of protective filter that leaves us numb to what is happening anywhere else. I myself am guilty of this because I hardly leave my East L.A., Latino, and immigrant rights circles bubbles, which offer a level of protection from what goes on in the world. But once in a while, something will come along and burst that bubble, even if it's for a moment.

That's why this video of Dreamers a drift interviewing Victor, a 19 year old Dreamer who grew up in Alabama, talking about what it's like living in the south pre and post HB-56, really puts things in perspective. Watching the video and hearing him describe what he's seen and experiences, mirrors much of myself growing up here in L.A. But what's going on in Alabama right now takes it to a level that I never thought this country would reach. To instill fear in communities to the point that running away from their lively hood is the only solution. Which is ironic, seeing that most families leave their home countries because of laws and corrupt governments making it unlivable, just like Alabama.

At the same time, there's a new generation of dreamers standing up and taking on the fight, just like Victor. Seeing everything that is going on and the damage it's caused those around him, much like me, have spurred him to fight. To stand up for himself and for his community. You can't help get emotional one way or another hearing him speak. Keep your eyes and ears posted to the movement, I'm sure we'll be seeing and hearing about Victors work in Alabama as the days and months pass by.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

3rd United We Dream Congress

Unfortunately, there's not much I can say about visiting Texas, other than I've been there and I didn't get to see anything :( It is pretty flat though, I will say that. And during my last night there, I finally got the opportunity to try some BBQ !! Nom nom nom !! But how did I end up in Tejas you ask? Well I was there, along with fellow Dream Team L.A. and Orange County Dream Team folks for the 3rd United We Dream Congress. Yes, more than 400 individuals, that are part of the nation United We Dream Network, got together to meet one another, connect the local and national fights going on and to have fun in-between all that work. This was my first time going and I didn't wanna pass up the opportunity to be in a room with soo many individuals that are all part of the DREAM movement, but also from all over the U.S.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Undocumented & Awkward

You gotta love the crew over at Dreamers a Drift. I've shared a beer or two and partied on occasion with them. They have smiles for miles and are some of the most down to earth folks, not only in the movement, but that I know. They're exceptional in articulating the life of Dreamers through film and video. Seamlessly hold up a mirror and capturing the reflection, that is our everyday lives.

This time around, they've kicked it up a notch with their new series, "Undocumented & Awkward."Like much of their other work, they ran with the simple concept of featuring some of the not so smooth parts of a dreamers life. Whether it's running into old friends and having to explain that you're still doing the same ol' 9 to 5 hustle, or having problems getting into a club that isn't matricula friendly, which was the first installment. This is how they break it down:

As undocumented immigrants living in this country, there are many instances in our lives which result in awkwardness not experienced by American citizens. Things that millions of others take for granted, such as driving to the grocery store or the ability to go to a bar to enjoy a nice cold beer after a long hard day at work, can turn into awkward silences at best, or deportation situations at worst.

I already told them how hilariously awesome the videos are, short and to the point. Of course, I couldn't help myself in throwing in a suggestion or two in there, and neither should ya'll. Send them an email over at and they might take you up on your offer. Just think of the last awkward moment you had at the bank? the store? or even on the street, it's all good in the neighborhood.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

100 Percent Increase in Efficiency

While it may seem trivial and nothing extra ordinary to most folks, to me, this is one of the BEST things to happen this year. I finally have a lap top of my own. It's not borrowed, a hand down, gift or anything. I bought it fair and square and I worked my ass to earn it over the summer I tell you what.

For years this has been my ball and chain. I've done everything from using computers at the library, school and friends houses to get things done, that now that I have one of my own, to do what ever I please with, it's a breath of fresh air to say the least.

Sigh :) It's been a long time coming and I still can really come to grips with the fact that I am finally a lap top owner. I've been customizing and changing settings the last two days. Getting programs I want, putting stickers here and there and enjoying the benefits of having a stable digital life now. Truly, just on twitter alone I've increased my presence three fold, which may or may not be a good thing, but what'eves. There's sooooooo many projects that I've put on hold or forgotten about because of my lack of access to technology, but now I have no excuse not to do any of the kind of work that I was able to produce back when I had a computer at school in the newsroom.

At the same time, I've grown so much that now that this ball and chain has been removed, I'll be able to run that much faster than i was before. I get excited just thinking about it. That also means that I'll be posting on here way more regularly than before, when I would just do it once in a full moon. There's so much going that now I'll be better able to share it with folks. Exciting times indeed.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Existential Questions to Assign Blame

More often than not, when I'm talking about days of future past, whether it's growing up here in the U.S. or of what I remember from Mexico, it's always through a romanticized lens. Memories of learning English, my mom washing clothes on rocks down by the river, playing with friends and shared high school experiences with others. It's all a good time when we talk about those past events and are able to laugh about them now. But that's just how the past works, even the grimy parts of it keep on getting brighter.

Then there are those memories that are attached to smells, sights and in this case sounds. I have plenty of those and the trouble with memories sometimes is you can't pick and choose them. They're just ... there whether you like it or not. As a form of self preservation, I know most people will keep that stuff to themselves, reflect on things when the moment is free and move on about their day. This is one of those memories that is going anywhere anytime soon for me, and it comes up more and more often now a days.