I Was Raised By My Mom

I Was Raised by My Mom
by Adalid Loaeza
Summit High School Student

I was raised by my mom.
She would be struggling,
While my dad was in the U.S.
It was hard to live a normal life.

I was raised by my mom.
Although I didn’t feel
Like a normal kid.
I would spend days, weeks,
Months, or even years, without my dad.

My mom would stay strong.
Not only raising me, but
My siblings, too. My brother and my sister.
My other siblings were in the U.S, too.
It was hard living without them.

I was raised by my mom.
As the years passed, I grew up.
When I was like seven-years old,
My dad went back to Mexico.
He built a new house, for us, his family.

About two years after he was back,
He decided to bring all of us to the U.S.
It would be tough for him,
But he did it. I was only nine-years-old,
When I came to the United States.

While trying to cross the border,
I would cry. It was hard.
We would suffer a lot. I was in so much pain, because we were all crowded in the same car.

If I had known, what I
Was going to be facing, I would have stayed.
I faced a lot of racism.
People would be mean to me, because
I was from Mexico and had different skin color,
But mostly because I spoke Spanish.

It was challenging, because I had to learn a new language.
I learned English in one year.
I’ve been living in the U.S almost half of my life.
And some people are still a little bit mean to me.

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Presidential Debates — Immigration Policy

Governor Romney and President Obama respond to a question on immigration during the debate. Notice how neither Governor Romney nor President Obama mention we are a nation of native peoples and immigrants. I believe that as a nation, Americans need to broaden their point of view when we speak of immigration to include the Native American experience within the conversation of American identity.

Click here to view video on C-Span’s website.

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Undocumented and Unafraid

Undocumented and Unafraid has emerged as a slogan for the new immigrant youth movement. No longer living in the shadows, undocumented students are coming out, organizing, advocating for change in immigration policy, and building a new civil rights movement. Two of the leaders of this movement, UCLA graduates Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, were pursuing advanced degrees at Ivy League universities at the time of their tragic deaths in a car accident. This book is a tribute to Tam and Cinthya and captures the voices of a new generation who are making history and changing our country.

The book features:
* The Trail of Dreams: Immigrant youth and their supporters march from Miami to Washington, DC.
* Civil disobedience in the halls of Congress: Undocumented immigrant youth risk deportation to support the Dream Act.
* Immigrant youth coming out: Queer, Asian Pacific Islander, and Latina/o undocumented students share their stories.

Buy this book here.

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Library Tour

The Teton County Libray provides access to a world of knowledge. Please thank Stephanie the next time you see her. Remember I said that good research takes time. Going to the library and reading books is like baking something in the oven. Knowledge takes time to acquire. Doing a Google search is like throwing something into the microwave. A Google search will help you jump-start your research but you will also need to go deeper into your area of interest. The staff at the library will help explore all the resources available to you.

To get automatic updates on new posts to this blog click on the RSS link on the right sidebar.

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Collage; A Mixing of Media, A Mixing of Culture

Today, I wanted our discussion to focus on digging a little deeper into different forms of expression. When I stopped in last week to check on the progress of the art panels, I was really excited to see how each of you were contributing to this project.

What’s cool about this project in particular is its collage format. In a way, we can look at this collage as a symbol of culture today. A collage is made up of different layers, images, textures, ideas, and images-it is a mixing of media. Culture, especially the American culture, is structured in a very similar way.  Our country has a rich history of immigration which has played a huge part in the development of our own culture.

Take Ellis Island, for example, a gateway for immigration in America. I’ve included a YouTube video, and while I’m sure you won’t have time to watch all of it in class, it is still worth checking out a few minutes, just to see the parallels, as well as differences, to today’s immigration issues.
Below I have included a poem by one of your classmates, Victoria.

What’s the Difference?
by Victoria Muñoz
Summit High School

There’s the school bus or a car
Taking me to school, free of charge
I learn without a care in the world
And I sit here saying I’m bored
But you’re over there walking miles to get to school

You learn because you want to renew
Renew crossing the border to save yourself
America is freedom and it’s not your fault that you need help
But your family can die or go to jail every coyote that they call
The hope and goal is to cross that wall

A scholarship or card can erase your chances of death
And coming to America with no worries can be kept
Is it harder for you to get a card?
‘Cause it takes me a month to get my passport and I can leave the U.S. and go so far

I’m an American citizen and don’t understand the joy of what that means
Immigrants aren’t aliens, they just want what we want, the American Dream
We take all this freedom and privilege for granted, when that’s what makes me, me
I’m a spoiled, middle class teenager that’s never had to work a day in my life
But that’s not what I see, I’m normal, as normal as they get

We have the right to fight for what we want, for what’s right
I want to fight for women, gays, and most importantly immigrant rights
They have the right to get paid as much as we do
They have the right to get a good education
They have the right to come to America
They have the right to opportunity and second chances
They should have the right to push for the American Dream

They’re just like you and me

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Dust Bowl Refugees

Woody Guthrie became famous by singing folk songs about Americans out of work during the Great Depression. In Dust Bowl Refugee he sings about American farm families migrating west from Oklahoma to California in search of any work they could find. John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath is a story of an American family that loses their farm. Steinbeck’s book was eventually made into a film. What Parallels can you make between this experience and current migrant farm worker experiences?

Dust Bowl Refugee
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

I’m a dust bowl refugee,
Just a dust bowl refugee,
From that dust bowl to the peach bowl,
Now that peach fuzz is a-killin’ me.

‘Cross the mountains to the sea,
Come the wife and kids and me.
It’s a hot old dusty highway
For a dust bowl refugee.

Hard, it’s always been that way,
Here today and on our way
Down that mountain, ‘cross the desert,
Just a dust bowl refugee.

We are ramblers, so they say,
We are only here today,
Then we travel with the seasons,
We’re the dust bowl refugees.

From the south land and the drought land,
Come the wife and kids and me,
And this old world is a hard world
For a dust bowl refugee.

Yes, we ramble and we roam
And the highway that’s our home,
It’s a never-ending highway
For a dust bowl refugee.

Yes, we wander and we work
In your crops and in your fruit,
Like the whirlwinds on the desert
That’s the dust bowl refugees.

I’m a dust bowl refugee,
I’m a dust bowl refugee,
And I wonder will I always
Be a dust bowl refugee?

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Grapes of Wrath

Hello again.

I’ve mentioned before the book The Grapes of Wrath written by John Steinbeck, published in 1939. I really wanted to include this book in discussion because it is just one, fine example in a world of many, that illustrates the social issues we are studying in this project. If you fancy reading in your free time, it is a book I would highly recommend, not just because of the social studies within it, but also because Steinbeck is a beautiful writer.

Right now, I’m reading the book’s introduction, and it starts out with three quotes by the author:

“My whole work drive has been aimed at making people understand each other…”-1938

“Bolieau said that Kings, Gods, and Heroes only were fit subjects for literature. The writer can only write about what he admires. Present day kings aren’t very inspiring, the gods are on vacation, and about the only heroes left are the scientists and the poor…And since our race admires gallantry, the writer will deal with it where he finds it. He finds it in the struggling poor now.” -1939

“If i could do this book properly it would be one of the really fine books and a truly American book. But I am assailed with my own ignorance and inability. I’ll just have to work from a background of these. Honesty. If I can keep an honesty it is all I can expect of my poor brain…”

What Steinbeck didn’t know at the time, was that this book went on to become one of the top bestsellers, won several awards such as the 1940 Pulitzer Prize, helped Steinbeck achieve the Nobel Prize in 1962, and in a 1999 Writer’s Digest survey, aided in ranking John Steinbeck as the number one American writer of the century.

That being said, I want you to think about the power of voice. It is hard sometimes to believe that in a world as populated and diverse as ours, that individual voices are heard, are listened to. Speaking up takes courage, courage to believe that your voice will be heard, courage to believe that your voice has power, courage to stand up to those that will oppose your voice. Then there are all the different forms of voice to consider. Literature is one way to express voice, but there is also art, music, theater. How do these different forms of expression affect voice and how it is heard?

Think about the different voices centered around immigration today. What are they saying, what are their beliefs and opinions, and how do they affect you, at the individual level? How is this repeated through history?

Look back to the quotes I have included by Steinbeck. The first one expresses his desire for humans to understand each other. How do you get another person to relate to you, to see things, and more importantly understand them, from your own point of view. Why is this important?

The second quote is about inspiration and admiration. It also has a lot to do with reality. What inspires you, what moves you, what do you care about? How does this affect your reality-how you see the world? For Steinbeck, it was the human condition that moved him. It was hardship that produced compassion, that lead him to write one of the most important books in American history.

Today I will end with one of my favorite quotes of all time, written by conservationist Terry Tempest Williams:

“I have felt the pain that arises from a recognition of beauty, pain we hold when we remember what we are connected to and the delicacy of our relations. It is this tenderness born out of a connection to place that fuels my writing. Writing becomes an act of compassion toward life, the life we so often refuse to see because if we look too closely or feel too deeply, there may be no end to our suffering. But words empower us, move us beyond our suffering and set us free. This is the sorcery of Literature. We are healed by our stories.”

I want you to think about compassion. What is at the heart of our humanity? What separates us from our humanity? How can you apply this towards immigration/migration today?

Dust Bowl Refugees

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