Flora Reyes

Flora Reyes

Brooklyn, NY

They say its shameful that we’re wrong, corrupt, drug dealers, illiegals, aliens some terms more offensive than the next. When I was younger I couldn’t understand why the country I loved, the only one I knew and was my home rejected us so much. My family lived a quiet life, my father would lecture us on the importance of demeanor and character represented not only ourselves but our family. We were each a fragment of a whole, all aiming towards our only goal. Happiness. My father wasn’t a greedy man, he didn’t expect anything from life that he didn’t work for. He is beautifully intelligent, stern, caring and my mother was and always has been the definition of a loving and attentive mother. They gave their lives to providing and raising six children that didn’t always appreciate or understand their sacrifices. I was six the first time someone made fun of my parents for not knowing English and for being immigrants or at least the first time I can recall. I’ll never forget the rage I felt the urge to defend my parents, my family, me. I begged my parents for us to leave that restaurant for my siblings to revolt and never return. But no we sat down, we had dinner and my father said that we should never be scared to be who we are but that there were always limits. Not everyone was going to accept us, love us, or understand us and they didn’t have to. Rejection is part our humanity, Social Darwinism at its most primitive. I won’t be shamed in to feeling like less because a number a paper, or a status separates me from another American. I’ve always learned to understand both sides of a debate to see the reasoning and that has helped me live a better lifestyle. A lifestyle that accepts all beliefs as hurtful or ignorant as they may be. Still when someone calls me an illegal alien I can’t help but cringe. There is something so vulgar and unintelligent of calling someone and ‘illegal’ and then an ailen of all things. I know that the definition of an ‘alien’ is essentially a foreigner but it is still quite dehumanizing. Contrary to popular belief as an undocumented immigrant I don’t expect hand outs and to live off an already struggling system. I don’t believe anything should be handed to anyone, I was raised to work for what I want and I will continue to do so and hopefully some day I’ll do it with out the label of ‘illegal alien’. I do hope to do everything I can to be lawful but to expect me to leave the only life I know is reprehensible. The social stigma of being an immigrant is heavy because we are labeled as liars, less, and so much worse. I truly hope that nations work at progressing their countries and that their is a way to fix a shattered American Dream until then I hope that everyone works towards true social progress and learn that we aren’t all that different.

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