My mother came to the U.S. with her parents when she was in primary school. My Lita and Tata worked tirelessly to provide for my mother and four siblings. Their work ethic has always been a driving force for me. Without my Lita’s dedication to working in the strawberry fields of California every day, I wouldn’t have the opportunities I do now.
After reading Jose Antonio Vargas’s story, I was motivated to mobilize my campus. Living in El Paso, Texas, across from one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico, I feel blessed to live in a “sanctuary,” away from the violence plaguing my sister city. Therefore, I have committed to creating a culture of acceptance, compassion and ultimately, love for the community affected by this violence. I was fortunate enough to have a chance meeting with Jose Antonio Vargas when he was boarding a fight to Arizona, one of the most hateful states in our country. After that meeting, I worked to enact a, “Drop the I Word,” pledge drive. We also worked to get students on campus to share their ideas about what it means to be American. We just wrapped up our month-long campaign. I am proud to say that UT-El Paso is on it’s way to becoming a campus that has learned to love our diverse community members.