Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bike Party.

Its been slow progress, but i'm starting to finally thaw out and get out of my old anti social comfort zone.

I've been invited by acquaintances to join them at a monthly bike ride called Bike Party, in San Jose. Usually pass, since 1. im not in shape 2. out of my usual things to do list (its a short list jaja)

This past friday I opted against staying in on a friday and going to sleep at 11. I called up my buddy kevin and got on the bikes. I am so glad. the ride was an experience i wont soon forget. So many people, just out riding and having fun. Over 2000 riders across 24 miles in a span of four hours.

The breeze on my face as i rode, the worry free feeling of being young.

I cant wait till the next one

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

National Back to School DREAM Act Day of Action

Today was the National Back to School DREAM Act Day of Action, united we dream and many other organizations got together to promote these events. In total there were over 120 events nation wide. From film screenings to petitions to marches and press conferences. Undocumented students and their supporters gathered the motivation to push once again for the DREAM Act.

It is September 23rd. 8 months after the new administration took place. more than a year since these words were said by the now President Barack Obama: "the DREAM Act, i believe, is something we can pass immediately"

some one please give me the definition that this administration has of Immediately

Granted there are other issues being taken on right now, but in all honesty, the amount of time it would take the people in Washington to enact the DREAM act is minuscule compared to Health care reform, Economic recovery ect ect. But the benefits it would yield to the undocumented students would be monumental.

Too bad immideately is not soon enough

Friday, September 18, 2009

Astronaut Speaks on Immigration

Jose Hernandez worked in the fields of Stockton CA. He received a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering. Went ton to get his Masters. He then became an American Astronaut. Now after returning to earth (and not having to show his earthling papers upon re-entry), he spoke out in support of Immigration reform. from the LA times:

NASA went ballistic when Jose Hernandez advocated legalization of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. shortly after his return to Earth. The California-born son of migrants isn't backing down.

After the shuttle returned Friday, Hernandez told Mexican television that he thought the U.S. should legalize the millions of undocumented immigrants living there so that they can work openly because they are important to the American economy.
Officials at NASA wigged out is more accurate.

the astronaut said he stood by what he had said earlier on the same program, advocating comprehensive immigration reform -- a keenly divisive issue in the United States.

"I work for the U.S. government, but as an individual I have a right to my personal opinions," he said in a video hookup from a Mexican restaurant owned by his wife, Adela, near NASA headquarters in Houston. "Having 12 million undocumented people here means there's something wrong with the system, and the system needs to be fixed."

He added that it seemed impractical to try to deport 12 million people

Mr. Hernandez an educated American Citizen, A latino who votes can see the common sense of immigration reform. He seems to understand the need for it.

I believe Mr. Hernandez would also support the Dream Act since it promotes education to young immigrant youth.
TV host Loret de Mola said viewers were flooding him with one question above all: How does a humble son of peasant immigrants manage to become an astronaut?

Hernandez, a father of five, cited two crucial factors: a good education and parents who forced him to study, who checked his homework and stayed involved in his schooling.

"What I always say to Mexican parents, Latino parents, is that we shouldn't spend so much time going out with friends drinking beer and watching telenovelas, and should spend more time with our families and kids . . . challenging our kids to pursue dreams that may seem unreachable," he said.

That Weight

I've written about it before. That feeling of suffocation that grips me in the morning and refuses to let me go. Those mornings in which i wake up at 4, in a cold sweat, my heart racing because of anxiety.

They used to be few and far between. Maybe once every few months, but as time has passed they have become more constant. almost to the point where they are a daily occurrence. It's hard to describe this.

My eyes just open. the dim lit room feels surprisingly small. my chest is heaving, and there is pressure on its center. Like a hand that is pushing down. Sweat covers my body. there is a cold bitter hollowness that consumes me. i feel my body, especially my hands, shaking. My whole body becomes very receptive to the slightest touch or movement. my breathing is rapid. the loneliness is amplified.

It's obvious that this is caused by the stress my undocumented status bears. Mainly the fact that, my i have zero control over my life here (i know. i know. most would argue either i do, or that no one has control of their life). It is brought upon by the thoughts and subconscious realizations that i am in Pause mode. And that everything is contingent on some variable that is so far from being with in my control.

My biggest concern is that if when this ever passes and my status gets resolved, i will still have this weight that wakes me from my sleep.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

License and Registration.

I was tailed by a police officer tonight on the way home from school. It brought back memories. I wrote this in 2007. A day after it happened:

The words alone seemed to pull me under the car and beat the shit out of me.

Again…License and Registration…

Slowing time down, millions of different scenarios taking place in my head. Some seemed like scenes out of a bad film, others were darker and more somber. In those millions of thoughts there had to be the right one; the one that would help get me out of this jam in the least harmful way. But they were flashing by too fast.

One more time…License and Registration.

Now the world grew impatient, awaiting an answer. The words resonating in my head, while everything else was dulled by their magnitude. Still under the car, only now it was moving back and forward, slowly running its wheels over me over and over again, screaming, “give him an answer, answer HIM, go, think fast, moooove!”

Slowly the cop appeared on the side of my window; he looked my age, 30 tops. “Hello officer” managed to escape my lips. “License and registration please”, I looked over at Gina; she seemed frozen, eyes wide. Calmly I replied, “Here’s the registration”, hesitation, “I don’t have a license”. There, I said it, I admitted it in front of you, gave you what you fucking wanted out of me; aren’t you a lucky son of a bitch that had to pull me over. Smile, I told myself.

And with that this seemingly normal traffic stop turned into something more. A moment where I was diminished into a criminal, judged on the circumstances and not by anything else. “Well do you have any I.D.?” hands trembling I scoured my wallet to find the appropriate thing, my University I.D. “here you go officer”. Smile. Why are my hands trembling? Look over at Gina again. Still frozen.

The cop muttered something about me going to State, some sort of feigned interest; or maybe the realization that he had possibly fucked up. “Yeah, I’m actually graduating next month.” I wondered if he’d gotten his Justice Studies Degree from state, if I’d possibly passed him by on my way to class years back? “Do you have any other form of I.D.?” Shit. I do, but not the kind that I want you to see. Again I searched through my wallet, while from the corner of my eye looking at the cop as he followed my every move. In desperation I gave him my Bank checking card, it has my picture, it’s identification isn’t it? “Got anything else?” Another cop car drove past us.

Jesus Christ! My panic began to grow. Finally I thought, fine you win, you want to see some precious I.D. well here, I gave the cop my Mexican consular ID, the famous matricula, my yellow star, my apartheid card, my “yeah I have no legal U.S. identification” identification. Take it. “ I have this,” I said as I handed it to him, not bothering to look in his direction. Don’t smile. Don’t fucking smile.

This is good,” the cop said, “I trust this more that your University I.D.” really? I would have though otherwise. “I’ll be right back, I’m going to my patrol car to make up some paper work and then ill bring your I.D. back”. Fine.

The patrol car’s search light blinded me every time I looked in the rearview, trying to see what he was doing, growing more and more frightened. I tried not to look at my sister; I didn’t want her to see me. The officer came back.

“The reason I stopped you was because the light above your license plate is out”. I didn’t believe that for a second. No, bullshit, you pulled me over because I’m driving a dirty ’91 Honda that has a rosary hanging from the rearview mirror and because I’m wearing a hat. No, not because my light’s out, but because you saw a wetback driving a car and thought that this would be a piece of cake traffic stop with no consequences on your conscience. You pulled over a stereotype and that’s all there really is to it.

“Oh” is the only thing that managed to slip past my lips. He continued, “Since it is illegal for you to drive with out a license in the state of California I will have to write you up for this, which will be a misdemeanor…” shit. A misdemeanor. “What about the light” I asked? “Well I won’t include it in the citation so that it will be a little bit less expensive for you”, thanks officer I appreciate it.

“ I’m also going to need your thumb print”, why? “You don’t have a valid federal identification, so…” I stopped listening and gave him my thumb, mumbling something about how long the misdemeanor would be in my record or some nonsense. That’s when I noticed something that seemed out of place, as I looked over to the inkpad the officer was holding I saw that his hands were shaking. Why where his hands shaking?

“Procedure is that I have to tow your car, but I’m going to go with my judgment and let you keep it” thanks officer. “I’m going to go straight to the stop sign and then make a left, what you do from there is up to you. Have nice night.” And with that he got in his car drove off like he said and the whole thing was over. I looked over to Gina, she was looking at me, we both asked each other if we were ok. Neither one answered. A few minutes passed as we sat in the car, still trying to figure out what the next step was; I didn’t want to drive Gina back to her dorm, much less back to my apartment. I looked at my sister, who was now on the phone talking with our parents, calmly trying to explain what happened. The engine of the car was off but the headlights were still on. I got out of the car, the cold wind wrapping itself around me as I walked towards the back of the car.

The red glow from the taillights covered my face as I looked at the car’s license plate; Gina came out beside me, “what’s wrong?” Nothing, nothing was wrong. That was the problem. As I stood there, covered in red, body shaking, although no longer from the cold, I saw that the license plate was fully lighted. “Lets go, we’re walking”.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lean on you

So far this year i Have met a wonderful group of young people who are faced with the same situation as I. Gladys, Prerna, Ju, Seung, Ana, Miguel, Mark, Alejandra, Beliza, Fermin, Perla.

It's so enriching to find with in this diverse group of people, a sense of community, and responsibility towards one another. We all come from different paths in life, different ages and different places. Yet our lives have converged on a single point, in a specific moment in time due to our lack of a formal existence.

The understanding of the specifics that make up our experience helps to form a special bond, where, even if there isn't 100% consensus on what we all like, or our views, we still can understand and offer support to each other.

I've said many times, one of the best things to come from my minimal involvement in the DREAM Act movement, is the ability to meet and spend time with fellow DREAMers.

Today I look forward to going to Stanford to meed up with Fermin, and spending time in San Francisco, just being two American Youths.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

It had been sunny the day before. That morning i woke to rain. weird. "Gabriel, there is something happening..." my mother called from the living room. I begrudgingly got up, and walked over to the television. What i saw next was surreal, and it changed the nation and the immigration discourse for ever.

I called Tony. yo you watchin this? "yeah....i think Nicole was one of the planes..." what? no man dont worry all the planes are grounded, it will be fine.

Glued to the television, scared for what was happening. refusing to register fully. this is a dream, a bad one. wake up.

Phone. What time is it? "hey... Nicole's plane crashed in PA..." what... " yeah, she was flying out of boston..."

Undocumented or not. 9-11 touched me. Nicole, Tony's step sister, had sat in front of me during algebra 3-4. I let her copy from my notes. I said hi when i spent the night at Tony's. A year older, she was a senior.

In a moment of fear, hatred, and heroism her life was taken from us.

Economies of Scale

My supervisor taunted me with a raise back in late may. 8.5 to 9.5 that's an extra 200 dollars a month, which would help.

All this week he told me, dont worry, it will be reflected in this check. I opened the check. Pay Rate. 8.50. This is what it adds up to: 1061 per month.

460- rent
20 -utilities
120 -gas
45- phone
80-credit card
45- car insurance
100-random (car light bulb, toiletries ect)

comes up to : $945.
Leaving about $116.

My Debt: $3500 (school, overdraft, ect)

As a side note- Total i Leech from society:
Hospital costs: 0
Student loans, fed aid ect. :0

Do the math alipac.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Legalize LA- more companies should follow suit

Just ran into this, over at American Apparel , the company came up while me and my father were having dinner, i was unaware of their stand on immigration reform. One quick google search and here we are. It even seems they can see the pragmatism behind such legislation such as DREAM act.

Recently due to an ICE probe American Apparel had to layoff thousands of its employees. Here's what founder and Chief Executive Dov Charney wrote in a letter to the laid off employees:

"Many of you have been with me for so many years, and I just cry when I think that so many people will be leaving the company," he wrote. "It is my belief that immigrants bring prosperity to any economy." - LA times

The following is a small snippet of the Legalize LA section of the American Apparel site.

Legalize Today! A note from a friend
Strong Voices
"I Dream American's Dream, My name is M, I grew up in beautiful Venice, California. Welcome to the neighborhood! Back in 1988 I was brought to the United States from Mexico. I was 4 then and I'm now 25. I am "an illegal" but legally I'm just undocumented. I am American as apple pie. I've earned a B.A. in Sociology from The Humboldt State University where I also played American Football. Despite my qualifications and preparation to become a productive member of society, I cannot legally work. This land is home to me for the same reason it is home to opportunity. The reason I'm writing you today is because I would love to work with the Legalize LA campaign. I am a valuable asset to the campaign. I can give speeches, work on different ways of advertising and marketing the cause. I have numerous ideas on ways to get the truth about my situation out to the whole country. I will need your help. Your company is classy, your product is clean, and you're respected. The people of the United States must understand my people to be the same. Together we can reform immigration in our country.


It is very encouraging to see such progressive thinking on the part of a company, which continues to push for humane immigration reform.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Un poco de vida (a little bit of life)

Things have been gradually changing in my life. I started School on tuesday. Taking a computer networking Class, which prepares one to be certified by Cisco Systems (CCNA). Pretty regular nerd stuff, IP addresses, routers, binary code ect. Its nice to be back in the class room. feels like im working towards something again. Rather than aimlessly navigating.

Also been almost 2 months since i moved into the apartment. So far its great. cooking with Kyle, sleeping in my bed (not a couch). having some privacy. Granted, it still gets lonely sometimes. there are days where it's hard to wake up and get out of bed. But it's getting better.

Getting somewhat more involved with DREAM actions. Going to be handling some conference calls for a while, and managing data for . Starting to plan another action. I feel good about actually getting more involved this year than before.

Met our neighbors. Most are college students. one Guy Yao is like the apartment guru, he always knows whats going on and says "hello". Kinda nice to have around. Our next door neighbors are three sorority girls. Which might not be so great, having parties every thurs~sat, but they seem nice enough. On Monday they invited me to a party, with their sorority and their brother Fraternity.

I figured, it's first friday's (art show) ill do that, then swing by. I never had a full college experience, so i think ill go to my first frat party as a 27 year old college grad. I hope i can still hang haha.

It's nice though. To slowly thaw out of my self imposed hermitage.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Worst Person of the week?

This douche bag:

Carl Braun, over at the San Diego Examiner. Reason he is a douche bag and WPOTW? because of his pushing of misinformation on his article (although towards the end there is a twist?):

Since when does Immigration Reform mean Open Borders and Amnesty?

They emigrated here about 100 years ago, legally through Ellis Island and staked their claim to the American Dream. They went through incredible hardships to get here and continued to work hard to become Americans

"legally" which meant at the time, being disease free and signing an X after arriving on Ellis Island. Nice Mr Braun. We should revert to THAT immigration process then, where do i put my X sir?

As for hardships? I and my peers have had none. And i barely speak English so it seems i'm not working hard enough to become American.

Illegal Immigrants come here because they simply want to and they cannot or will not do it the LEGAL way. It really is very simple. Millions get in line to do it properly every year. Illegal immigrants have NO RIGHT to be here. Granted, the system is messed up (thanks again Teddy) but violating it is really no different than saying you don’t like the price of the food in the grocery store so you’re just going to walk out the door with the product without paying for it.

Well, at least he acknowledges the system is messed up. Now if he could only get his brain to figure out that there is No line to get in. Baby steps i suppose.

While we are at it, fix the system, deport those that are criminals and give everyone else that are not supposed to be here a choice, leave or prove WHY you should stay? What are you contributing to our society? Did you commit any other crimes in America, other than crossing the border illegally? If not, let’s take a closer look but no guarantees.

No, it is not possible in my opinion to deport all twenty million plus illegal aliens nor should we. Many have been here for decades, made a solid contribution to our country and are otherwise law-abiding residents. If the tables were turned and Mexico gave Americans a green light to come aboard for all the benefits and opportunity you can bet your bottom dollar some Americans would have done it even though it may have been illegal. Doesn’t make it right but it would have happened nonetheless. We should however deport every criminal we get our hands on and properly secure the border so they cannot get back in. This is critical.

Interesting...this sounds kinda like something called...Comprehensive Immigration wait for it... REFORM.