Culture

An Elderly Woman Is Going Viral After Her Heart Warming And Crushing Poem About Immigration Had Everyone Crying

A video of a woman in Los Angeles reciting her poem about her pride in being Mexican in the U.S. is quickly going viral with Latinx from every country showing their support for her words. The video was posted by Jerry Ulloa Zatarain on Facebook and at the start of it the woman insists that the man recording gets her name – Celia – so people know who she is as she stands on a street in Los Angeles to passionately present her words. 

The viral video shows the elderly woman as she recites a poem about the history of Mexican immigration.

An elderly Lady that was interviewed in the city of Los Angeles CA

Posted by Jerry Ulloa Zatarain on Wednesday, August 28, 2019

“Por que yo soy Mexicana dicen que yo soy illegal,” she begins. “pero si tu lees la historia esta es mi tierra natal.” This translates to “Because I am Mexican they say that I am illegal. But if you read the story this is my homeland.”

Her words ring true for Mexicans considering that before the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, Mexico owned the land that later became California, Nevada, and Utah, and portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. The area was sold to the U.S. for $15 million and the treaty also officially recognized Texas as a U.S. state after it joined states in 1846. 

The treaty also states that Mexicans could retain their lands and become U.S. citizens but over time they were stripped of more than nearly 20 million acres of land by businesses, ranchers, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture among others in power.  

The powerful poem honors the immigration experience of Mexicans of the past, present, and future.

Facebook

“Pero tu, gringo Americano, tu si eres ilegal, porque yo so Mexicana aqui me voy a quedar,” she adds. “Y aunque tu pongas la barda, yo me la voy a brincar por arriba, por abajo ni cuenta te vas a dar.”

These sentiments are shared by many young Mexicans and Mexican immigrants especially in light of the immigration crisis happening at the border. With the Trump administration going after undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, these words are needed now more than ever. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017 there were 4.9 million undocumented immigrants from Mexico in the U.S. but of the estimated 33 million Mexicans living in the U.S., 22.3 million were born in the U.S

Long before Trump and his hateful rhetoric and border wall mongering there has been a wall (psychological and physical) separating the U.S. from Mexico. Border Patrol in the U.S. was established in 1924 and President Bill Clinton mandated the construction of a 13-mile wall between San Diego and Tijuana in 1993. By 2011, The Department of Homeland Security completed construction on 649 miles of barriers and for many, this is an affront to the beliefs that were part of the establishment of the United States. For Mexicans like Celia, it’s also a reminder of the land that once belonged to the indigenous communities that are now part of a country that is becoming more hostile to Mexican immigrants, undocumented or otherwise. 

Later Celia adds that “el Mexicano no raja, el viene aqui a trabajar” (the Mexican does not crack, he comes here to work) which is a sentiment evident in the large number of farmworkers that come from Mexico, 68 percent to be exact. The need for farm workers is so dire that even the Trump administration conceded to the demands of farmers and streamlined the H-2A visa process that allows them to work legally in the U.S. There are 27.4 million immigrant workers in the U.S., which makes up 17.1 percent of the total number of workers (undocumented or not), according to a 2018 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But negative stereotypes and portrayals of Mexicans and immigrants in general as violent, lazy, and overall criminals persist. Studies consistently find that immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than those born in the U.S.  and the crime rate actually plummeted 45 percent between 1990 and 2010 even though the overall percentage of immigrants and the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. both increased sharply, reported the Anti-Defamation League. 

“Dime gringo Americano, dime tu que haces aquí, si tu veniste de lejos,” Celia said. “Tu vienes de otro país, si el Mexicano es mojado, también tu lo eres aquí.” 

The fact that the U.S. is a land founded by immigrants and that should continue to welcome immigrants stands in stark contrast to the current policies and the images of families in cages going without medical care or basic necessities on the border. About a month ago, a mural called “Chained Migration.” was revealed in Las Vegas showing the State of Liberty getting arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

For these reasons, Celia’s words have had a profound effect on those who have seen the nearly two-minute video on Facebook. 

Facebook

One commenter even translated the entire poem into English and many shared their own Mexican pride, thanking her for her words. 

She closes the poem by saying, “Y si la migra me agarra, yo me vuelvo a regresar,” she said. ” y aunque los gringos no quieran, aquí me van enterrar.” 

Celia’s words are filled with pride, passion, and defiance and in a time when the Latinx community seemingly spends more time than ever defending their rights it’s a good reminder to listen to the sage advice of our elders. 

This MLB Team Just Swore In 15 New American Citizens And Our Hearts Are Overflowing With Emotion

Things That Matter

This MLB Team Just Swore In 15 New American Citizens And Our Hearts Are Overflowing With Emotion

Screen capture. CBS News.

As the 2020 presidential election draws near, every public act that involves issues of citizenship and migration becomes a political statement (perhaps involuntarily, but a statement nevertheless). That is why having a civic act involving issues of immigration in front of a stadium full of baseball fans is a super relevant ideological statement. Last weekend, at Citizen Bank Park in Philly, a few individuals had one of the most significant days of their lives. 

Fifteen new American citizens were sworn in before the Phillies-Red Sox game last Sunday.

Credit: Screen capture. CBS News.

Yes, 15 new American citizens of all kinds of origins were cheered as they waved flags and swore their allegiance to the United States. The new citizens, of all kinds of backgrounds, are a true snapshot of multicultural America, a representation that goes counter to the Trump Era vision of exclusivity and privilege.

As reported by CBS News, MLB has become an advocate for this kind of ceremonies: “Fifteen new Philadelphia-area residents from 11 different countries were sworn in as U.S. citizens Sunday at the game. The newly minted U.S. citizens are among the over 700 new citizens who have been naturalized at 11 professional ballparks this summer”. By the way, the Phillies lost 6-3 to Boston, but the evening had a celebratory vibe, of course!

And what could be more American than becoming a citizen in Philadelphia, right?

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous. 

After all, the United States Constitution was signed by the Founding Fathers there, right? What a moment it must have been for the 15 new citizens, some of whom surely had perilous migration paths, when they heard: “”Congratulation, you are now citizens of the United States of America. You now share the same rights, the same privilege, the same obligations as any citizen of this great country”. And to be honest, there are few things as American as a day at the ballpark. 

And let’s remember that Pennsylvania was all red after the 2016 presidential election, so statements like this are increasingly important for those who wish Trump to be kicked out of office.

Credit: Wikipedia

Just look at that red tide. Pennsylvania is heavily reliant on manufacturing industries that have been hit hard by global trade and the move of American companies overseas. The steel manufacturing industry, for instance, has lived under extreme duress for decades. This is perhaps why Trump’s message resonated with disgruntled workers. The state has large numbers of Latino presence, mainly Puerto Ricans and Dominicans. So statements of civil inclusion such as the citizenship ceremony at the stadium could send a message: we are all the same, we all deserve a shot, we are all equal. 

All it takes is a good hearted judge with a love for baseball.

Credit: Twitter. @PhillyInquirer

The ceremony was performed by Juan R. Sanchez, a judge of Puerto Rican origin who understood what multiculturalism really means on a personal level when baseball made him feel part of the community. He told CBS News: “We hope we remind people of the tremendous privileges we have under the constitution. And remind people that we have a responsibility to be engaged.” Preach, querido juez Sanchez. 

Last year the ceremony had 19 new Americans, so the trend is continuing that is just una chingonería.

Credit: Twitter. @GraceMarioano

The trend is constant now. Last year 19 new Americans were welcome at a Phillies game. By the way, those red hats are Phillies cachuchas, so don’t be alarmed!

But the trend goes back to the early 2010s, as reported by the Portland Press Herald. In 2012, before a Minor League game more than two dozen children were welcome as United States citizens: “The children were part of a pre-game ceremony that celebrated their new citizenship at Hadlock Field, home of the Portland Sea Dogs. The children, from Congo, Germany, the Philippines and Somalia, were presented certificates recognizing their citizenship, derived from their naturalized parents or adoption. After the ceremony was held between home plate and the backstop, the children and their families stayed for the Sea Dogs’ game with the Reading Phillies. The children held a giant American flag during the playing of the national anthem”.

Becoming a citizen of a foreign country is a big step in anyone’s life, particularly if they flee perilous circumstances at home, so having a whole stadium cheer you must be quite something!

Citizenship  ceremonies at Phillies’ games have a dual purpose: make new Americans feel welcome and educating the public.

Credit: Twitter. @SU2Citizenship

The best way to make a statement is a lived experience. The thousands of fans that have been overcome by emotion as new Americans are welcomed can see, and feel, how great cultural diversity is. This photo is from a ceremony in 2015. 

We are Los Dodgers fans, but the Philadelphia Phillies will always have a special place in our hearts.

Credit: Facebook. Philadelphia Phillies. 

As Angelenos and Latinos we remain loyal to our Dodgers, but we gotta admit that the Phillies are growing on us thanks to their approach. They make citizenship ceremonies a community affair 

Selena Gomez Announces New Netflix Series ‘Living Undocumented’

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Announces New Netflix Series ‘Living Undocumented’

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

Selena Gomez continues her reign as a Netflix producer with Living Undocumented. It is always great when celebrities use their platforms to enrich and educate. Gomez has a huge platform and can generate huge numbers. 13 Reasons Why blew Netflix’s expectations out of the water, and I can’t help but think it’s because of Gomez’s enormous Instagram following. The girl has reach. 

As you might have guessed, Living Undocumented is a documentary series that follows the lives of undocumented immigrants as they navigate life under the looming threat of increasingly cruel immigration policies and ICE raids.

Selena Gomez announces Living Undocumented on Instagram

“I am so humbled to be a part of Netflix’s documentary series Living Undocumented. The immigration issue is more complex than one administration, one law or the story you hear about on the news. These are real people in your community, your neighbors, your friends—they are all part of the country we call home. I can’t wait for you guys to see this and hope it impacts you like it impacted me. Available globally October 2,” Gomez wrote.

Living Undocumented 

Living Undocumented will focus on eight undocumented families. Premiering on October 2nd on Netflix, the show will chronicle the families as they face possible deportation. The narratives will range from hopeful to infuriating, but the series will put a human face on a dehumanized group of people. 

It cannot be said again that the United States has always struggled with two contradictory narratives: the one where it is a beacon of hope for the tired, hungry, and poor, versus the one where it has upheld numerous racist and xenophobic immigration policies. This is an issue that predates Trumpito, even if he has kicked it into it’s most degrading form. 

“I chose to produce this series, Living Undocumented because, over the past few years, the word ‘immigrant’ has seemingly become a negative word,” said Gomez. “My hope is that the series can shed light on what it’s like to live in this country as an undocumented immigrant firsthand, from the courageous people who have chosen to share their stories.”

Gomez is joined by executive producers Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Mandy Teefey, Anna Chai, and Sean O’Grady. Chai will also co-direct the series.

“Living Undocumented is designed to illuminate one of the most important issues of our time. But rather than discussing this issue with only statistics and policy debates, we wanted viewers to hear directly from the immigrants themselves, in their own words, with all the power and emotion that these stories reflect.”

Humanizing immigrants is key

People don’t just bring guns into Walmarts to kill 22 innocent humans beings for no reason. It is no secret that President Trump’s dehumanizing language was a catalyst for the El Paso shooting. The suspect whose name shall not be invoked told officers he was looking to kill “Mexicans.” Mexicans — the Latinxs Trump referred to as rapists and criminals. The mass murderer also said he wanted to stop a “Hispanic Invasion,” in his manifesto. Trump called Central Americans “invaders.” 

According to Pew Research Center, this year they found that 58 percent of Latinx adults say they experienced discrimination because of their race or ethnicity. Across all races and ethnic groups, two-thirds of individuals surveyed say that expressing racist views has become more common since Trump was elected. 

This year, at a Trump rally, supporters were cheering about shooting immigrants. 

“How do you stop these people?” Trump asks. Then someone yelled back, “Shoot them.” Trump smiled. The crowd cheered. Three months later, the El Paso shooting took 22 lives.

“The language that criminalizes and makes Latinos out to be evil is affecting our own citizens and it’s going to have both short- and long-term consequences that we are starting to see in the Latino population,” Elizabeth Vaquera, an associate professor at George Washington University who studies vulnerable groups, told the Washington Post.

A Bipartisan Non-Issue Becomes A Partisan Issue

This immigration “issue” started off as a hoax but through Trump’s horrible policies he created this new immigration crisis. In 2017, when Trump took office, migrants arrested at the border were at the lowest level in three decades. 

Three former employees of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wrote in Politico, the border crisis is all Trump’s fault.

 “It is Donald Trump himself who is responsible. Through misguided policies, political stunts and a failure of leadership, the president has created the conditions that allowed the asylum problem at the border to explode into a crisis.” 

Public Religion Research Institute survey found that 80 percent of Democrats view the fact that the majority of the United States will be nonwhite by 2045 as a good thing, while 61 percent of Republicans say it is bad. 

The barrage of harmful rhetoric has turned what was not even a problem into a national crisis with opinions straddling partisan lines, and a heightened hatred of Latinx people. Living Undocumented might be exactly what this country needs.