"You could really inspire" message motivates undocumented student
Mesa, Arizona – My name is Cesar and today I want to share my
story with you... I was born on May 26, 1989 in Tamaulipas, Mexico.
At the age of four I was brought to Arizona and for over eighteen
years I have called this state –and better yet– this country my home.
At such a young age I was not aware of the obstacles I now face,
only that my mother wanted to better our lives, and is that not what
every mother wants for her child?
A year later I started my very first school year and it felt great, I
really felt like I was in the right place, that I was no different than
the child sitting next to me. As the years passed I continued school
participating in extracurricular activities and programs.
Sadly, in 2006 my life was immediately and tragically altered... One
morning in 2006, I was involved in a car accident while making my
way to my church. I was seriously injured and flown to the hospital
where I waited and eventually treated. I was treated to a "stable
condition" or left in coma, as I like to put it. My mother was then left
with two choices: one being "pull the plug" because there was no
chance of me waking from my coma as the doctors explained; or to
wait and care for a "vegetable" for the rest of her life. Of course my
mother did not even think of the first option and chose to wait and
leave it all in God’s hands and what a beautiful thing it is to have
Due to my undocumented status, the cost of the hospital caring for
me was extreme so we had no choice but to pull me out. A month
later I awoke from my coma, learning what had happened to me. I
was distraught. I felt like my life was over. I had to accept my new
disabilities and accept that my life will never be the same.
A few years later my friend came to me introducing me to an online
high school. She was upset that my accident happened my senior
year of high school and I was unable to graduate due to it. As I took
my online school I struggled quite a bit and honestly there was a
time I gave up but I started thinking. I started reminding myself
about all the people who have helped me and how it was unfair to
them and to myself if I just "threw in the towel".
Finally, after all my hard work, I earned the right to call myself a high
school graduate and what an accomplishment that was. As the very
first graduate in my family, I have paved the way for my brothers. I
have shown them that as a handicap, I accomplished a great thing
and if I could do it as a handicap what could they not do.
I will be accepting my diploma at this year’s graduation ceremony at
Mesa High School. At first, I was skeptic about it but after countless
times of hearing the same thing: "You could really inspire", I decided
to do it. So come June I will have worn a cap and gown for the first
time but not the last! It's pretty exciting because the day after
graduation I celebrate my birthday, so I will have a lot to celebrate
about. But like many of you I have hit a wall: I am undocumented
and won’t be able to work or, as I like to put it, give back.
That's why I want the DREAM Act pushed and I am not alone. There
are hundreds of people with the same or similar story, and I find it
unjust that we, the youth, are being used as scapegoats and are
being punished when we have not committed a crime. I want to stay
in the country that I have called my home for years because like
many others. I have nowhere else to go.
By Cesar Calderon March 5, 2012
Cesar Calderon participated in the
protests againts Republican
presidential candidate Mitt Romney in
Mesa, Arizona. DREAM Act advocates
demonstrated outisde the presidential
debate. Photos of protest Video
Photo by Eduardo Barraza
Published by the Hispanic Institute of Social Issues in Phoenix, Arizona
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Founded in 2002
Published by the Hispanic Institute of Social Issues