Another week down, another week closer to going home, another week filled with self-evaluations. There is a lot I want to write about in this blog, so it may seem I jump from topic to topic. However, these are all things I think about when I’m alone with my thoughts.
Earlier this week my good friend from Duke sent me a message about how her summer was going. She told me how guilty and privileged she felt for being at Duke and having an immense amount of opportunities, while her friends back at Georgia were struggling with lousy parents, abusive boyfriends, and community college costs. She, like me, comes from an impoverished family, and is part of my merit scholarship at Duke. She told me she feels like a completely different person. She looks in the mirror and doesn’t recognize herself. I tried to tell her that she was still the same person even though she now has a plethora of amazing opportunities at her fingertips, but I realized that the advice I was giving her were things I tell myself all the time. My friends back at home, many who are immigrants like myself, have extremely rough lives, while I live in a bubble of privilege. It makes me feel like a piece of crap, and I hate it. I hate what going to a place like Duke is making me become. I can see myself losing grip on my culture, my heritage, and my roots, and I’m scared that one day I’ll let go. Looking at the immigrants that I visit in mobile home parks when I conduct surveys, I see my own family members in them, but I’m scared they don’t see me as one of their own. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to inherit a sense of superiority once my time at Duke is over. I want to eat huevos rancheros for lunch and tacos de carne asada for dinner when I’m older. I don’t want others around me to think I consider myself more important. My friend and I promised each other that we would do our best to remain humble people.
Now, onto more recent news, I just saw on the New York Times while writing this blog that Donald Trump decided to keep Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals intact. Actually, Trump is in Miami today, where he is giving a speech regarding US-Cuba relations. I’m pretty positive he’s going to reinstate a travel ban. Some of the co-workers in my office said this is a bad thing, but I honestly have no opinion on it. Regarding the DACA decision, if my mind was more one-dimensional, I’d be bouncing off the walls in joy and trying to make my way towards Trump to thank him. But that’s not the case; I’ve learned not to believe things at face value. You see, this is simply a distraction, a political ploy. We Dreamers have been used as political pawns since our inception, so this is nothing new to me. This decision was made to mask the fact that Trump is silently building an army of ICE soldiers to deport the mothers and fathers of these Dreamers. It doesn’t fool me and I hope it doesn’t fool any other Dreamer, because this is no time to relax.
Now, I suppose I should give a summary of my week after that rant. This week felt like a typical week: My LSGM team and I worked in the office, went canvassing, and got roasted by the blazing Miami sun. I got irritated here and there because humid heat and I just don’t blend well. That is why my room is set at a firm 67 degrees. We got to interview a lot of people this week, and while I ended up doing most of the talking because I am the only native Spanish speaker, my team members were able to get in some practice when we interviewed English-speaking tenants of Haitian descent. On the survey, there is one particular question that strikes me as peculiar, “Do you or any member of your household receive government benefits?” This question simply reads to me as “Are you a citizen, or not?” When the interviewee answers no, they usually do so in a very proud manner. It reminds me a lot of my mom; she always exclaims how proud she is that she was able to raise a family and support a household without the government’s help. I found it truly endearing.
I’m saying a lot of things and I feel like I just have too many things on my mind lately, but that is just how my brain is hardwired. All in all, I am enjoying my time in Miami, but I can’t say I’m not counting down the days till the program is over.