My name Is Felicia Aldana, and I am a senior at Ramsay High School. My father is a single parent and has always taught me and my brother to chase our dreams no matter what including my crazy dream to study neurology and hopefully attend Boston University in the fall. He has lived in the United States for a total of almost thirty years and has always been a prime example for my brother and me by paying his taxes, obeying traffic laws, and participating in community events such as Fiesta, that raise money to give scholarships for students like me.
At the age of 12, I first saw how my community had been harmed by HB 56 our anti-immigrant law. I remember Immigration officers coming to a trailer right in front of my bus stop and not just taking the one person they were looking for, but also six or seven other people. I remember one of the mothers crying with a baby in her arms. I couldn’t help but cry on my way to school because this was a baby that deserved to have both of her parents together as a happy family. Although this was not my family and I didn’t know them, I saw the pain of the mothers, fathers and children being ripped apart.
Did they know they were separating families, families that fled violence, and poverty in their countries to give a better future for their kids such as having the freedom to obtain a better education? Not much longer afterwards, my dad got called that Immigration had detained my uncle Pablo where he worked with my dad. This made me think that day, what if my dad had been detained with them, what would my brother and I do? Would my brother and I end up in foster care? I could not lose the one person who had seen me grow, who put my brother and me first before any situation and anybody else. He deserves to see me graduate in my cap and gown receiving my high school diploma.
With president Obama’s Executive Order my friends could graduate from high school and pursue a higher education and help me motivate other students. This would also benefit another 3.6 million people just like my family. Including the most important person in my life, my dad. They are the families who came here to give a better life to their children, who work long hours for little pay, who push their kids to do well in school and earn their high school diploma.
This experience has led me to believe that I am capable of anything I put my mind to. I promise to work harder each and every day for my family, my Latino Community, and for the thousands of Immigrants that live in fear of deportation, because there is power in our unity, in raising our voices with no fear with the rallying cry ‘Si Se Puede!’” I will continue to fight along with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice and I would like you to join us!