Culture

Here’s What This Undocumented College Grad Has To Say About The Haters Threatening Her With ICE For Celebrating Her Graduation

One of the biggest gifts a child can give to a parent is the gift of hard work. It’s an even bigger accomplishment when the hard work comes through sacrifice and incredible odds. Camila Ozores Silva from Florida did just that recently when she walked across the stage to receive her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa. The DACA recipient worked long hours while working full time proving that her hard work and her parents’ sacrifices were worth it.

Camila Ozores Silva recently got her bachelor’s degree after overcoming tough obstacles.

Undocumented. Immigrant. Latina. Queer. Woman. Low income. First-gen. Anxiety. All these salient identities and labels used to be barriers that I thought for sure would keep me from reaching my goals. All of these were reasons society told me I would not be as successful as my peers. College graduate. This identity would not have been possible without the fuel of my marginalized identities. The multiple systemic and overt obstacles in my way only served as even more reasons why I needed to achieve my dreams. This diploma I’m about to receive is a privilege and an honor and it’s a testimony to the hard work of my parents and mentors, not just myself. This one is for my family and for the millions of other folks who hold my same identities that can’t quite yet strive for their dreams. Tomorrow will forever be the day that I reclaimed my narrative and proved myself wrong. Yo soy fuerte, yo soy capaz, yo soy invincible, yo soy mujer. ??‍?? #undocugrad #latinasinhighered #werk #immigrad #undocugrads #latinxgrads ?: @josejacobphotography

A post shared by Camila Ozores (@camilaronipizza) on

The 21-year-old received a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and tweeted how she not only accomplished her dreams but was able to do that thanks to her father.

In a tweet that has now gone viral, Ozores Silva writes what it was like to be undocumented and still get college degree.

Ozores Silva found out she was undocumented as a teen and her life flipped upside down. She writes that despite facing an enormous amount of pressure because she was undocumented, her father encouraged her that they would endure the challenge together.

“I realized then that my education was no longer just mine,” Ozores Silva writes in her blog. “This was for my parents, immigrants to a country that tries and strips them of their culture and rejects them in so many ways. This was for my brother, a year behind me in school and someone I hoped to inspire to always strive for something more.”

In an interview with mitu, Ozores Silva discusses how she persevered through working 30 hours a week on top of a full class load.

brows done, life poppin

A post shared by Camila Ozores (@camilaronipizza) on

“I realized early on that this was never going to be easy with the systemic and institutional barriers placed against me and my community, Ozores Silva says. “Understanding that I needed to want this more than anything and be willing to fight for it helped me succeed.”

Ozores Silva encourages other Dreamers not to give up their fight for an education.

With so many Dreamers hanging in the balance of what the government will do to their DACA status, Ozores Silva shares words of wisdom:

“If you feel discouraged, let it come and feel it but don’t let it keep you down because education is a right that we all deserve and if you work hard enough, I believe you can achieve it,” Ozores Silva says. “Also, you might have to let go of the perfect dream. Sometimes financial setbacks are the ones most out of control, especially without the privilege of DACA and work authorization. However this doesn’t mean you need to quit, but this might mean you need to modify your dream by taking less classes at a time, going to community college, and/or graduating late. All of that is okay because it’s not about how long it takes you but it’s about you getting there.”

Ozores Silva also received some hateful comments regarding her undocumented status. To those people, she says “have empathy.”

“I’d like to tell those with hateful mindsets about my community to have empathy and hear out the real human beings affected by the terrible narratives being spewed about us,” Ozores Silva says. “I would also tell my fellow undocumented/DACA folks to have hope and to know that even if they’re not protesting in the streets or out of the shadows, their mere existence and taking up space is resistance.”

Now that Ozores Silva is done with college, she will soon be headed to Colorado State University where she will seek a masters in Student Affairs.

“I’m super excited to take my activism to a new state and continue learning as I believe education has saved my life.”


READ: Meet One Of The Students Who Walked Out During Mike Pence’s Notre Dame Commencement Speech

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

We Can’t Make This Stuff Up: A Startling Amount Of People Believe There’s A Link Between Corona (The Beer) And Coronavirus

Things That Matter

We Can’t Make This Stuff Up: A Startling Amount Of People Believe There’s A Link Between Corona (The Beer) And Coronavirus

We don’t mean to minimize the hardship that the newfound coronavirus has caused in China and the red alerts that the medical crisis has sparked all around the world. However, it is important to note how misinformation and Internet humor can lead to some people actually believing the most outlandish stories and explanations for the global health crisis.

Of course there have been conspiracy theories that claim that China was developing a biological weapon and things got out of control. This, of course has sparked all sorts of rumors, as is the case when global pandemics happen. But the fact remains that Chinese authorities have tracked the virus back to a market in Wuhan where exotic species and wild animals were being sold. It is believed that the virus, which is called “corona” because its shape resembles a crown, originated in a wild snake species and was then passed on to humans.

But of course for beer drinkers around the world the name reminded them of something else.

Credit: TopShelfRecords / Giphy

Yes, particularly for gringos the virus’ name had a particular resonance with the Mexican lager, renowned around the world for its crisp flavor and breezy palate. And also a reminder of many drunken nights or cruel hangovers. 

So, of course, the Internet being the Internet, memes relating the refreshing brew and the scary virus soon popped up everywhere!

Credit: Medium

So according to online chistes this is how the virus actually came about: with a compa having una chelita bien helada. If only this was true… 

Others just begged to be infected…

Credit: Stare Cat

.

… al mal paso darle prisa, they say. 

Others gave the memes a more geopolitical twist!

Credit: Stare Cat

It is no secret that U.S.-China relationships have deteriorated during the Trump administration and people soon got creative to throw political jabs at both sides. We wouldn’t be surprised, however, if some MAGA dudes actually believe something like this could actually be true. 

And of course where there is a Corona there is a lime… or lyme…?

Credit: Imgflip

Get it? Get it? Such a dad joke

The Mexican Internet has produced by far the best coronavirus related memes.

Credit: La Razón de Mexico

Just look at the estilacho on this compa, downing his chela with the aplomb of a true gentleman. 

And being “infected” became the best excuse for a drunken rampage

Credit: La Razón de Mexico

So if you get totally malacopa in a good old-fashioned borrachera, you can always blame the now celebre Corona-virus. 

But here’s the kicker… an increasing number of people actually believe there is a link between Corona beer and coronavirus! Yes, es neta!

Credit: El Imparcial

As Vice reported, Google search trends related to the virus obviously had an increase in the past few days as the disease spreads around the world and governments scramble to prevent populations from getting the disease that affects the upper respiratory tract, sometimes with fatal results. Searches such as “coronavirus symptoms” or “how do I prevent coronavirus” had a huge spike of 1050% in only a week.

However, the search trends also revealed a dark reality: people can be really ignorant when it comes to matters of public and personal health. As VICE reported, “there has also been a spike in searches for ‘corona beer virus,’ because apparently people are under the impression that coronavirus, also known as nCoV, has something to do with Corona brand beer.”

Some people claim that #fakenews doEs not actually cause any harm, but we beg to differ: people are ready and even willing to believe anything, particularly if it is just totally out of any scope of logic or common sense. 

And no, the searches do not originate in Mexico, where the beer is produced.

Credit: Picuki

The searches actually come from countries that are supposedly developed and whose citizens should definitely know better. VICE further reports: “The searches have been prevalent in North America (but not in Mexico, where the beer is produced) and western Europe (we see you, Finland), as well as in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, and New Zealand.” Just wow!

And it gets even worse. Far-right conspiracy theorists actually say that the best way to prevent the virus is by drinking bleach, as Daily Beast reports: “the conspiracy purveyors at QAnon are suggesting that the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus is by drinking bleach. In both tweets and videos, QAnon associates have suggested that their followers should purchase and consume a product called Miracle Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, or simply MMS.”

Just what is wrong with people?

She’s An Undocumented Migrant Herself But Is Fighting For People Like Her In The Court System

Things That Matter

She’s An Undocumented Migrant Herself But Is Fighting For People Like Her In The Court System

Emily Berl / Getty

Lizbeth Mateo always had a strong sense of justice since she was a small child. It was this determination that would lead her to become an immigration lawyer and a controversial appointment to a post on a state advisory committee, despite being undocumented. 

The Los Angeles lawyer is a DREAMER. She came to the U.S. from Oaxaca with her parents at 14 years old. Now, 20 years later, Mateo protects immigrants in court every day and each time she does she faces possible arrest and deportation. The Los Angeles Times profiled Mateo as she fights for herself by fighting for others. 

“I’m a walking contradiction,” Mateo told the newspaper.

Officials received death threats when Mateo was appointed to a state advisory board.

When the Senate Rules Committee appointed Mateo to the California Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee, her legal status made headlines. 

“While Donald Trump fixates on walls, California will continue to concentrate on opportunities,” Kevin de León, state Senate president pro tem, said in 2018. “Ms. Mateo is a courageous, determined and intelligent young woman who at great personal risk has dedicated herself to fight for those seeking their rightful place in this country.”

De Leon took a lot of flack, including death threats, for appointing an undocumented immigrant. But who better to help underserved students than one herself. 

“There were some really angry people who said really nasty things,” said Mateo. “They said ICE is coming, they’re going to report me and they hope Trump sends the Army.”

Mateo is a local hero to immigrants who credit her courage for making real change. 

“Any of us with DACA owe Lizbeth and the movement,” said Mateo’s attorney Luis Angel Reyes Savalza who is also undocumented.

Mateo is still on her journey to citizenship. She believes that for people like her, people who have come here without papers but contribute so deeply to society will have a chance at naturalization — at least someday. 

“I wouldn’t say I worry about her. I’d say I’m very much inspired by her, and she’s inspired many others in her outspokenness and her activism,” Reyes Savalza said. “I do think she’s taking a very calculated risk, and I think it speaks to the kind of person she is that she puts community first.”

Even if Mateo is unsurprised by the Trump’s administration anti-immigration policies and disappointed in Democrats who have done little to stop him, she still believes her chances in the United States were better than in Oaxaca. 

“It provides opportunities. So much so that someone like me, who came from a tiny town in Oaxaca — with parents who only finished sixth grade, nothing more — could make it and become an attorney,” she said. 

Mateo’s journey from a struggling ESL student to a revered lawyer was not easy. 

Mateo attended Venice High but it was no walk in the park, the once superstar student wasn’t able to shine her brightest as she struggled to learn English.  

“I couldn’t stand being in school, didn’t understand things and felt isolated and very stupid. In Mexico, I was outgoing and always raising my hand and answering questions,” Mateo said. “I remember one day I came home crying and told my mom I wanted to go back to Oaxaca and live with my grandmother. She said OK, we’ll send you back if that’s what you want. But you have to wait because we don’t have any money.”

Mateo didn’t give up. She graduated from Venice High then attended Santa Monica College and Cal State Northridge. Although her options for grad school and job prospects would be limited due to her immigration status, she continued to fight for her place in the United States. 

In 2014, she and nine other DREAMERs were arrested after traveling south of the border then returning to protest deportations under the Obama administration and lobby for the DREAM act. The move, going back to Mexico, disqualified her from receiving DACA protections. Mateo was still able to attend Santa Clara University for law school soon after. 

“There was a level of determination that is very rare and inspirational and … what was amazing was that she led others,” said one of her professors, Michelle Oberman. “She’s a hero of mine and in this day of big egos she’s quite centered. … It’s all in the service of others and it’s not about her. That’s what’s most singularly impressive.”

Mateo received her law degree, passed the bar, and made defending immigrants her life’s mission. And the rest is history in the making.