Category Archives: Latin@

Why My Voice Should Count For More Than One Vote

Black and white hand drawn comic with 12 men and one woman sitting around a table. All of the men are looking at the woman. Text reads, "Well, you're the only one who thinks we're a sexist organisation."

This comic has appeared in my newsfeed several times in the last week. It captures what many of us feel when we are the minority in any given situation. It captures the overwhelming feeling of loneliness when faced with the contrast of your difference. It captures why I don’t want a seat at the table.

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Finding Mis Abuelitas

Sixteen years ago, prompted by a line in my patriarchal blessing, I signed up to take a family history class at BYU. The first day of class, the professor asked us each to introduce ourselves and our goals for the semester. One by one my classmates shared their ambitions to learn more about pioneer ancestors who settled towns in Utah or Idaho. With a healthy sense of humor and self-acceptance, I stood and semi-joked, “I’d really just like to trace my father’s family back to legitimate births.”

There are pockets of pioneer ancestry tucked into my lineage.  There’s a street in historic Nauvoo that shares my mother’s maiden name. But the family stories that dominate my sense of identity are conspicuously lacking in quilts and covered wagons. And, my father’s side especially—the Mexican side of the family—has always been the stumpy side of the family tree. Continue reading

Baby Jail, Part 3: My Breaking Point

By GuestBlogger (Anon)
This post is the third of a 3-part series documenting the experience of an immigrant rights attorney volunteering at the Family Detention Center in Dilley, TX. Because of the nature of her work, she has requested to remain anonymous. [Part 1; Part 2]

By the end of the week in the detention center, you finally feel like you know what you’re doing. You know what the women are coming in for, you know what you can do to help, what they need to bring, how you do it, etc, etc. By this point you’ve also probably got a favorite or two–children, mother, or story. I, being a sucker for small children, loved all of them. Continue reading

Baby Jail, Part 2: The Happenstance of Fate (or, not happenstance at all)

By GuestBlogger (Anon)
This post is the second of a 3-part series documenting the experience of an immigrant rights attorney volunteering at the Family Detention Center in Dilley, TX. Because of the nature of her work, she has requested to remain anonymous. [Read Part 1 here]

By my second day at the detention center, I had begun to get a feel for how things worked. Women sitting at the front (or the back, depending on your point of view) of the trailer were waiting to be helped, but you had to check in with the person running the floor to see what was needed. At a certain point that afternoon, I saw only one woman waiting, separate from the other 2 or 3 in the waiting area. Not seeing the person in charge of the floor, I approached her to see if she had been helped yet. Asking her, in Spanish, what she needed. She responded, telling me that she had been told to wait.

Poster of Mother hugging child. Caption: There is no humane way to detain families.I noticed something in her accent — something I had heard before, though not in the detention center. Something that made her Spanish different from the rest of the women’s. A thought occurred to me, “Señora, usted habla portugues?” (“Ma’am, do you speak Portuguese?”)

“I do!” she said to me, her face lighting up at the recognition and the possibility that I might too. “Eu falo português; deixe-eu ver o que é que você está esperando.” Continue reading

Baby Jail, Part 1: Family Detention

By GuestBlogger (Anon)
This post is the first of a 3-part series documenting the experience of an immigrant rights attorney volunteering at the Family Detention Center in Dilley, TX. Because of the nature of her work, she has requested to remain anonymous.

Recently, I went to what the government, ironically, calls the South Texas Family Residential Center. It’s more commonly known as the “Family Detention Center in Dilley, TX,” and/or, as “Baby Jail.” It is one of the places where over a thousand mothers and children, fleeing lives we can only imagine, are sent after arriving at our borders seeking refuge. Instead of refuge, they are sent to “hieleras” (ice boxes), “perreras,” (dog kennels), and finally, STFRC (baby jail).

Most of these mothers and children, in addition to fleeing violence, rape, domestic violence, threats upon their lives, extortions, and God knows what else, face an arduous journey across at least one country, sometimes as many as three, to get here. They do not come here because it is a walk in the park. They come here because they have no other choice.

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On Bubbles and Boxes

My first significant encounter with standardized testing came in third, maybe fourth grade.

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