Sunday, November 25, 2012

Applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

And thus the long awaited post is here, me applying for Deferred Action. I never made applying a priority, but it was something on the back of my head. It wasn't until a lawyer broke it down and answered some of my questions did I finally felt comfortable in wanting to apply. The fact of the matter is that government paper work is always intimidating in numerous aspects. The language used, showing proof of your presence, not knowing whether you are filling out the application right etc. It's no wonder most folks lawyer up and pay for services to do it right the first time around.

I however, have the privilege of having access to resources and support beyond what anyone outside of the immigrant rights movement can get. I started collecting all of my paper work little by little. The final and longest piece that I needed, my transcripts from the Los Angeles Unified School District, took the longest because of spelling errors in my name. Go figure. The rest of the documents were easy enough to gather since I have that stuff in storage and what not. After that it was a matter of just sending out a text, sending out an email and BAM!! I have a lawyer lined up to look at my application.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reflecting beside myself

Photo by Polvo de Luz
There are days in which I can't help but just stand beside myself and digest what the hell I'm doing. These moments of self reflection usually lead me to think on events that got to said position that triggered reflecting and acknowledge all of the change that has happened around me and within me. It becomes surreal after a while if I dwell on it too much.

But for sure, I trip out on where I find myself sometimes. 10 years ago, 5 years ago, hell even last week. Things are constantly in motion and I've always been one to go with the flow. To be like water, to have no set form/shape and to adapt to my container. In doing that, I have been fortunate to continue growing as an individual and as a member of a community.

I've also had to eat my words here and there, but that's because I have mouth that's faster than my brain. I've learned most of my lessons through those experiences. But if there's one thing that I still seems outta place, it's my role in the immigrant rights, undocumented youth and in the last few years, labor movement. I never had aspirations to be an organizer in any shape or form. It was just something that sort of happened along the way.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Video from my participation on the Huffpost Live

So earlier this week, I was on the Huffington Post Live talking about a new program that the city of Los Angeles wants to start, which is to give folks a city issued ID that will allow them access to specific services, much like a library card, but is being marketed toward folks who are undocumented immigrants. I think the ID's are complete bullshit, but I say that with the privilege of having a bank account, being bilingual and knowing how to navigate these financial systems.

Other folks, for numerous reasons that aren't valid or to be dismissed, don't have access to these kind of resources. Anyway, I was part of a panel on the Huffpost talking about the ID's and what they mean in the larger conversation of cities being more immigrant friendly by offering services like these. I totally ended up dominating the conversation and I inadvertently checked the two other folks in the panel. Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.

Ana Tijoux at the Echoplex this Sunday 11/18

I had the pleasure of seeing Ana Tijoux perform live here in Los Angeles over the summer. My friend Kris turned me on to her and I've been in love with her music since then. Ana is a rare voice in the male dominated genre of hip hop. Not only that, but she holds it down by having songs that range from the attacks on immigrants here in the US, but the gentrification and displacement happening all over Latin America.

She's going to be performing at the Echoplex this Sunday, so catch her if you can. You won't be disappointed with the show if your a fan of hip hop. And if you still need more incentive, check out this free download of her song, "Shock." And if that still doesn't change your mind, then there's nothing I can do for you.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Slide show interview on my experiences being undocumented

USC student Shako Liu got in contact with me a while back for her class project. She wanted to initially do a slide show on me going through the process of applying for Deferred Action. However, delays in paper work and what not delayed things and since she needed to complete her project for her class, she switched it up to me talking about my experiences being undocumented.

The slide show is what it is, me being myself and just talking about my personal experiences growing up undocumented. For the project, Shako caught me hanging out at a local coffee shop kicking it with friends, riding my bike for Ciclavia and during a party in which I was completely cross faded. In fact, at minute 1:58 you can see me smoking a fat blunt. What can I say, I love to have a good time :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

When belonging is a double edge sword

Ironic to think that for the longest time, I longed to belong to something. Primarily, I searched and craved to find and connect with other folks who are in the same boat as me. Being undocumented, growing up in the US for the majority of our formative years and understanding the struggles our status entails. For years it seemed like I was alone and no one could relate to these experiences.

However, when I did find others like me. When I read stories about them in newspapers, saw videos and saw that there was a movement of undocumented individuals coming together and connecting to help each other out, I didn't hesitate to throw myself in the mix and become involved in whatever capacity I had. I didn't question, critically think and analyze anything. I just wanted to belong to something and connect with my peers because I didn't want to feel alone anymore.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The unappreciated undocumented life

In the past, I've never fully appreciated my experiences growing up undocumented. For the longest time, I saw everything from a negative lens, and even now, there are times in which my first reactions are negative ones. It's a lot easier to hate than to appreciate. First of all, I'm a sucker for oppression games. If you didn't share similar or worse experiences in terms of where and how you grew up, I'd be quick to dismiss you and your personal experiences because in my view, you haven't struggled enough.

It's a petty and limited view of things and I've realized that over time. I still work at checking myself when I start to fall into old habits like that and when I do have something to say, I think about it before putting my foot in my mouth, as such is the case most of the time. Reflecting reminded me of a lot of things I take for granted because as I've gotten older, so have my views and interpretations of past experiences. I've been redefining my past experiences from negative to positive, at least trying to.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Arrested Development

For the longest time, it was always easy to blame whatever wasn't right in my life on my immigration status. Since I was seven years, I've been aware that I'm undocumented and it affected what my decision making process was, has been and will be. It's easy to say that I have don't have independence, stability or a kind of academic success because I'm undocumented. But then again, I never did give a fuck, I just used my status as an anchor point to cry wolf, draw attention to myself and revel in self pity and loathing.

Alas, it's only now that I'm in my late 20's that things are coming into place, and most importantly, making a kind of sense that is tangible and not just cursing at the wind. There are parts of me that wish that I had mad better decisions in my youth in terms of school, work, adapting to responsibility versus trying to delay it for as long as possible. It's only now that I am returning to responsibilities that I once avoided not because of need, but because I'm ready for them and I want them.

I've always had the tenacity to be bouncing around from one thing to another. Something I got from my parents because that's the way we grew up. I can't help feel a bit foolish at how much I've changed and grown and how things are developing around me. November is always a time for reflecting for me, and reflecting I have been doing. I feel like a jackass at times too in that things I've said are either coming back to my face and smacking me or I'm redefining them into something positive.

None the less, I'm constantly working on not inhibiting myself from growing as a person in all shapes or forms. It's not easy and things aren't always planned, but that's just how things are veda? More than anything I'm grateful for the friends that I have, lending me their support in all shapes and forms. For too long, my answer to everything was because I'm undocumented, but not anymore. Now if things aren't working out, it's because I'm not doing my best to make them happen and my apathy gets the better of me. Like I said, it's not easy, but I'm making progress here and there.