Sunday, March 22, 2009

I am not a number

Michelle is my younger sister. Born in the United States in 1992. We have a ten year age difference but she is my best friend. We laugh at the same stoopid jokes, love the same movies and TV shows, eat the same foods, and overall are essentially clones. When she was little I taught her how to play video games and now she has surpassed her teacher. Right now she is a Junior in High School and is a very active and successful student. A member of the drama club, writers guild, she's done cross country and is planning on joining the school choir. Her GPA is awesome.

But Michelle is what many would call an "anchor baby" (some twisted minds firmly believe that my parents conceived Michelle in an effort to wait 21 years so that she could petition them...yeah ok) and as a member of a mixed status family she is not insulated from the struggles, suffering and frustrations of the family.

She cried when in 2007 I was pulled over by the police, and was afraid that she would never see me. She feels my frustration when I have to go to my shitty jobs, because she knows I have a degree. She feels worried about our sister and her impending graduation from her University.

I once told her of my plans to get the following words tattooed on my forearm : I am not a number.

A few days ago she wrote the following:

I am not a number

Hard work , determination, dreams came crashing down, thrown from a high cliff. I too fall with them. All of a sudden a realization of what I am not.

(I am not a number) Nor am I a piece of paper, paper that will allow my life and potential to unfold. A number that will lead to a happy death. These, I am not.

And for not being, all is taken from me. My work, thoughts, hopes, dreams. My Life.

Denied I am, the right to prosper and live happily. Rejected, these things are to me. All because of what I am not.

I am not a number. Nor am I allowed - to live my life to its greatest extent. To accomplish all that I desire; to be what I aspire to be. All because of what I am not.

(I am not a number) but I am alive. A being that breathes, eats and hopes, like all other people. A being of great potential- denied.

I am also a person, to live free and at peace - happy. Not to memorize a number and deny having a soul. The same and equal as all other people, no more, no less.

Yet barred is the cage in which I am kept, from which the only escape is being thrown from a cliff, along with all I have tried to achieve. All because of what I am not.

I am not a number. But I am here and trying. Knowing my soul will sprout wings at the most opportune moment.

Something I could not do if I were not who I am. I am hope and dreams, work and love, human and soul. Proud of what I am not.

I am not a number


  1. I love what your sister wrote! This post was particularly touching for me. I also have a younger sister, and we're 12 years apart, and she also was born here. Although she is only 8 and too young to understand what's going on. We are super super close too.

    Our stories show that if people aren't going to support CIR for humanitarian reasons, they should at least support it because we also affect U.S. citizens, for anyone out there who believes that all we do is be a burden to society. Look who's being a burden to U.S. citizens now, if we don't change the broken policies in place.

  2. Another fan here, that was spot on. There are so many mixed families out there, it's a shame that the mainstream media doesn't pick up on it as much. When they do the story ends up being distorted and people start throwing around that ugly term to dehumanize their fellow citizens.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pretty awesome! Also, playing video games, epic win! Yeah, I hate the term that they have for people like your sister, it doesn't make sense. But then again, a lot of the stuff in the immigration debate do not make sense. Sigh.