Rox Pa

Black Panther is Undocumented

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Rox Pa

Richmond, VA

I have been pondering a lot about writing my story.. I have started doing it many times but every time i became discouraged. There is a grain of optimism inside me that makes me keep going, makes me open my eyes every day and get out of bed thinking this has to end sometimes, this fear, this heartache. I vaguely remember myself 12 years ago when i arrived in the US. I was a starry eyed young woman, in love and full of trust. I could tell you the sordid story of my love affair but it wouldn’t matter. It’s something many have gone through. Many humiliations, beatings and emotional torments later, i found my inner strength and stood up for myself. I had come with the faith in the person i loved, faith that he would be next to me and help me. 2 years later i found myself penniless, alone and undocumented. I could have gone back home but my ego didn’t allow it. I had left my parents home to prove to them what they had never believed.. that i could make it on my own. I couldn’t go back and admit my defeat. So i braved through, forging a life for myself, creating friendships, searching for love, working.. living. It was a youth’s mistake that will end up affecting the rest of my life. How many of us haven’t made stupid choices when we were young? I believed and still believe i have to brave through the consequences of my choices and keep the hope that one day this situation will change. So many years later i’m still in that limbo. Meanwhile i lost my father and wasn’t able to go to the funeral. I also lost a fairly good job when my boss found out about my status and the fact he couldn’t help me. I’ve loved people that couldn’t stay in the country, I’ve loved people that didn’t believe in my good faith and truthfulness. I’ve endured physical and mental abuse from an abusive manager.. but I created a decent life for myself. To the people outside my life, i seem to be a cheerful person, stable in life, working and living like anyone else. Those who know me better can recognize the sadness behind the smile, know about the fear i feel every time i leave the house, know about the heartbreak and the tears. I consider myself an educated person, i speak fluently several languages, finished college with a double major.. yet as an undocumented immigrant i was reduced to a number. Each year I pay my taxes, like any normal citizen of this country yet I don’t have any of the benefits. Since i can’t obtain a driver’s licence i have been forced to drive without it. As a result, I’ve been in jail twice. The effect jail can have on a person is something i can’t even explain. I felt almost less than human. All i was made no difference. All i knew made no difference. I was a number in the system.. also as an repercussion of not having a licence, I can’t get insurance. When I have been involved in accidents, I’ve been forced to pay out of my pocket the expenses. I listen sometimes to those that are against immigration reform touting the idea that we, the ones that go through these hardships, we come here to have it easy. All I can say is.. come walk a mile in my shoes. Why are we so inhumane that we have lost the ability of empathize with the people around us? Why can’t we look around and understand that most people in the world have the same desires.. to have a family to care for and provide for, to be treated with respect and dignity, to live without fear. Many of us may come from societies that don’t offer all that. We all want to come here and fulfill our dreams and at the same time bring something from within us as a contribution to this community. I say to you, don’t look down on us. We are you. Maybe my story is not as moving as others. I don’t have a family here that can be torn. My family has already been torn, in a final way. Having lost my father, with an aging mother and an elder and sick grandmother, I’ve pondered many times over the second most important decision in my life. But I’m still here, hoping for a better life, hoping that the eyes of those who are blind will be opened, hoping that everybody will embrace those who are different. We are all human, we all walk this earth, we should all respect each other and let each other live. Today i might not show my face. But the day will come, the day when my fear will disappear, the day I will be able to speak about all the experiences I’ve gone through, some bad but mostly good, the day when, with tears in my eyes i’ll be able to embrace my family again. Maybe the day will come when i’ll stop feeling this loneliness and know that someone believes the honesty of my character. Maybe one day i’ll know the joy of holding my baby in my arms and be in the arms of the one i love. That joy has been denied to me as of yet. I know i have a great deal of blame to take for being where i am. But NOW USA is MY HOME. It is as part of me as i am part of her. Leaving would be like living a family you chose, a love that’s build and not innate. It would mean denying the person I’ve become and the experiences that have build me. I can’t do it. I won’t do it!

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