Monday, May 24, 2010

My Fathers Journey - Part 2

The sound of the speeding cars no longer startled him; he’d been walking along the side of the highway most of the night, with out any idea of what time it was, or how many hours had passed since he had crawled out of the pipe. His feet ached. His back ached. Exhaustion gripped him by the bones. Stomach churning, he suddenly became aware of the tremendous hunger that resided in him. It’d been at least 48 hrs since his last meal. The nerves hadn’t let him eat.

He thought of his family, and wondered where they were. He figured that by this time they should be in San Jose, and would be expecting a call from him soon. The realization that no one knew where he was suddenly hit him, and it settled like a heavy rock on his chest. A rush of panic hit him and he attempted to run and was merely being able to trot and stumble. He stopped.

Cars rushed by him. Moving lights in an endless darkness; disappearing almost instantly as they moved closer to their destinations. What next. How long until the highway hits a town. Thinking of how to inform them of his location. He kept moving down the road. He walked so much he had lost track of the distance that he had traveled; no idea of where he was or where this highway was leading.

Walking aimlessly made his mind wander, and a flurry of thoughts began to crowd his head. He remembered the small market stand he had in Queretaro, how it had been enough to provide a comfortable living. He thought about all the problems that haunted his family. Of his older brother yelling profanities at him, while he watched from inside his house. Thoughts of the night when he made the decision to bring his family to this place. Thoughts of his family. How they had dressed up and gotten up early one day so they could go to Mexico City and get their passport. He thought about how it was only he who had not been given a visa.

His train of thought was broken the flash of some slowing lights. He watched them slow until they came to a stop a few yards ahead of him. Maintaining his pace he walked up to the lights, which had now materialized into a moving truck. Inside the driver said something in English, which he understood as an invitation to get in. No second thoughts, no doubts, no fear. He climbed in.

“Where ya headed?”

San Jose – he said

“ I’m going to Nevada but I can give you a ride up north for a bit”


The next few minutes were awkward. Silence crowded the cabin of the small truck. The man driving was a light skinned blond, he didn’t seem dangerous, still it was best to stay awake. The blonde man looked over at him, “you look exhausted.” In broken English he explained what had happened, and how he had walked for so long. “don’t worry, the migra usually doesn’t patrol this far in.” The blonde man took out some pills and handed them to him, “here, they will help you rest.” With out knowing why, he took them.

It was the voice of the Driver that woke him.

“Hey, I didn’t want to wake you, but we are a few miles from Nevada”

He didn’t realize he had fallen asleep. Nadamas cerre los ojos poquito, he though. His body had just given in to temptation.

Nevada? Mierda…y ahora que.

Now what.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Tragic Loss

When I first started doing research for the DREAM Act, i ran into the Congressional testimony of Tam Tram. I was in awe. This young woman, young undocumented student was speaking out. it was a jolt of inspiration. When we started to communicate via FB i was giddy, and i told her so. She is a hero of mine.

A few months back i had a friend request from Cinthya Felix, a UCLA grad who was an aspiring Physician. We had conversations on G-chat and FB and were looking forward to meeting each other as we had heard much about one another.

Yesterday I learned that both had passed away in a terrible car accident.

I never had the privilege of meeting them in person, but my heart sinks as I think of the terrible loss, the pain their families are feeling.

Both these young women were an inspiration, they represented everything that the DREAM Act stands for. Both these young women were American to the core. They will be dearly missed

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Fathers Journey - Part 1

He lay motionless, barely breathing, feeling the coolness of the mud penetrating the front of his shirt. He lay like that for hours, trying to control his heart pace, slow rhythmic breathing. He thought about how he had been hiding by the legs of the front side passenger, and how the driver, upon reaching the check point, had panicked and said “vale madre, ya sabenay que correr”. He remembered how with in seconds the car was emptied, bodies running away from the check point, the yells of the now surprised patrol officers.

He had stayed behind, hidden, the glove compartment pressing against his head; when the officers passed by he got out and ran in the opposite direction. He ran with out looking back, with out knowing where he was running to, he ran as if his life depended on it.

It did.

He went into the bush, struggled with low hanging branches and rocks, almost tripping over his own feet, over his fear. Heart pounding, his heart condition suddenly not an issue. As he ran he had noticed a small break in the tree line; something told him “there” and he lunged towards it, his body flew downwards as the ground gave out into a muddy rain aqueduct. His muscles gave out and he covered himself with branches, leaves what ever he could find.

Now he was stoic; trying to immerse him-self with the brush and mud. He could hear the officers looking for him. Yelling “we are going to find you.” Mixed Spanish “vas a ver cabron” and other insults. Fear was gripping him slowly, entering his body much like the mud which now soaked his clothes. He wondered what had happened to the others that had run. What had happened to the two young guys in the trunk of the car.

His mind was racing, thoughts of his family; the last time he had seen them, the car they were in drove off. The pain he had felt in his heart as his son looked out the back window and waved. Now the sun began to slowly set, the sounds of the officers began to grow fainter. They had gone.

In an imitation of military fashion, he began to drag his body along the aqueduct, slowly, stopping when ever he heard noise, pressing his body to the ground and holding every breath. Minutes or hours later, he was not sure; he came across a highway blocking his path, the only way to cross it was either go above and take a chance with the speeding cars or to go through a pipe that went underneath the highway. Exhausted he closed his eyes and slept.

When he awoke it was dark, the sounds of the speeding cars surrounded him, as did the faint lights of their head lights racing past. He crawled close to the pipe opening, no way to tell how far down it goes -he thought. Paying no mind to the terrible claustrophobia that had always haunted him; he braced himself and crawled into the pipe. Inside the putrid smell of garbage, mold and rat shit invaded his nostrils. It was dark and he could not see the end.

His body barely fitting, he was glad for his small 5’4” frame as he dragged his way across. Insects ran down his body, the smell impregnated his clothes and the pipe seemed to go on forever. Pain no longer harbored his body, he was too tired to feel anything; it was as if he was only moving out of sheer inertia, just motions with out thoughts. He was too tired. As he came out of the pipe he let his body drop; he saw only the dark wilderness ahead of him. Me voy a perder. Not sure where he was or where to go he decided the best option would be to stay close to the highway. It had to hit a town eventually.

He willed his exhausted body up and began to walk.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coming Out to Mahal

Mahal is my coworker. We have worked together for about five months now and we get along great, she is a sweet young lady with a solid head on her shoulders and a great sense of humor. we are both foodies and she has been feeding me with some awesome Filipino cuisine and other snacks. We laugh at our dumb customers and have some awesome therapy sessions.

And she also has a sixth sense.

I've been having one of those rough patches where i tend to just drift off in to my thoughts at work, and Mahal has been keenly aware of it.
-Hey dood, are you ok over there gabe?
Yes (smile)
Hey Mahal...whats our patient/doctor confidentiality level?
-Gabe. you know you can tell me anything. whats on your mind.
well i need to figure out how to phrase it but.
-its ok take your time
- are you Illegal.
erm. yes. well. im undocumented.

That's how the conversation Started.

I could feel my heart racing faster let her know my situation, although due to the nervousness i edited my story a bit. She told me that she was not to informed on the issue but that she would hear me out, and as i spoke i could see genuine concern and worry on her face. I explained that my only options where marriage or bust.

Mahal said that she kinda suspected it. I asked why. She told me "well you're really smart, have a college degree and are hard working, so i wonder why youve been working here so long." I guess there are signs.

She joked "if i were single id marry you gabe"
You're not my type Mahal- i joked back

I told her how now i could break my rule of not adding coworkers on Facebook and she smiled.

As i left for home i asked her if this changed anything or made things weird (there was some akwardness in the air, naturally). Mahal smiled and said no

see you tomorrow Gabe

The Week That SB 1070 Brought

A quick "off the top of my head" summary

Friday April 23rd 2010 Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer signed into law the horrendous SB 1070 Bill, which make Arizona a total police state, and allows for legalized racial profiling.

The following week resulted in a flurry of events, some encouraging, some discouraging and some just plain confusing.

The passage of SB 1070 mobilized the somewhat demoralized Pro-Immigration groups and the Latino community. It was apparent immediately on facebook. Some people posted "she signed the bill..." and "legalize Arizona". With in hours vigils were organized nation wide and official responses condemning the bill were formulated. We held a vigil Saturday night in San Francisco.

Harry Reid, Luis Gutierrez et al proceeded to condemn the legislation, while most republicans praised it. Two significant things of note: Tom Tancredo (aka papa racist) said that Arizona was going too far (YIKES you know its bad if HE said this), and Lindsey Graham (the leading Republican Senator on Immigration issues), also condemned it.

The silence from the Obama Administration was deafening. But some time later at a Naturalization Ceremony Obama finally spoke out about the law, saying that comprehensive immigration reform was needed.

Cue the sudden Schizophrenia from the Democrats. Reid followed Obama's cue by saying CIR was next in the agenda, Graham threw a fit, the Democrats back off, Obama said CIR would have to wait, the Democrats introduced a "republican free" version of CIR...and the circus continues...

Republican Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician and one of seven Republicans running in the 3rd District Congressional primary, said Monday

“I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?" -
Yes, you read that correctly...Dogs and "an illegal". Osea the humanity of the "illegal" is completely stripped out.

Tim James,a candidate in the Alabama governor's race, came out with a very articulate and direct "English Only" ad, check it out: Tim James (Is afraid to learn Espanish)

The insanity doesn't stop, because Arizona also deemed it necessary to BAN teachers with FOREING accents. haha wow. check it here

Love them republicans huh?

Saturday was May Day or Workers Day, which in this movement has become the day to go out and march, as a symbolic gesture of frustration. Demonstrations were held in Los Angeles, San Jose, Dallas, Austin,Houston, Chicago, New York, DC and more. Los Angeles alone had 200,000 people fill the streets.

Representative Gutierrez along with about 40 others demonstrated an act of civil disobedience in front of the white house and got arrested. A signal that the heat is turning up in this debate and new actions are being looked at.

As i write this, on Monday morning, no concrete commitment has been made on reforming the ridiculously broken immigration system.

Still, I am anxious to see what other humorous antics show up this week, if only to take my mind off the immigration debate...