Fierce

Her Parents Worked In Fields For 25 Years To Give Her The Opportunity To Go To College

When immigrants speak about the importance of coming to the U.S. to build a better life for their children, the statement may seem too broad for some to understand what that truly means. For people with privileged backgrounds, the idea that immigrants would work multiple jobs, cleaning houses, working the fields outside in extreme temperatures, or the endless type of work that they would never comprehend about doing, is something not even on their radar.

For children of immigrants, we can understand that because that is all we know. That’s why moments like prom, graduation, or landing that first job is such a big deal.

A Latina honored her hardworking parents by appearing alongside them in her college graduation cap and gown.

Anna Ocegueda, a 22-year-old, who will be graduating from the University of California Merced tweeted a picture of her mom and dad in their working clothes.

Her parents have been working in the agriculture fields for more than 25 years.

“Knowing they’re out there working in the hot sun kept me going and doing it for them,” Ocegueda told NBC News.

Her viral tweet included the phrase, “Por Ustedes y Para Ustedes.”

“I think people relate to it because they know what it’s like to have parents who are working difficult jobs to support us,” she said. “They know that going to school will be a way to build a better life not only for themselves but for their parents as well.”

People on social media are praising her and her parents. They’re also sharing their own stories of persrervernce as children of immigrants.

They raise her right!

She also got a major shoutout from her own school.

UC Merced is a great school and they’re so supportive of their students.

The university chancellor responded to her tweet as well.

We bet they’re going to get an increase of admission applications from Latinx children of immigrants.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Her parents must be so proud.

These are the stories we live for!

With so much negativity out in the world, this tweet totally makes up for it.

So many amazing first generation college grads.

Just like their parents, they too have overcome so much.

If you’re ever feeling hopeless about finishing school, this picture will help.

If she can do it, you can too.

She has a couple of more weeks to go!

We hope she posts a video of the big moment as well.

The UC system is a great institution for Latinx students.

Congrats, Anna!

A Florida Teen Has Overcome Immense Obstacles, Including Homelessness, To Become His School’s Valedictorian

Things That Matter

A Florida Teen Has Overcome Immense Obstacles, Including Homelessness, To Become His School’s Valedictorian

Martin Folsom / Facebook

Right now we are in the midst of so much change. There is so much going on in the world – from a global pandemic that has left millions of us in social isolation to a brand new social justice movement in the wake of murder of unarmed Black men.

We’re being bombarded with so much serious news, it’s hard to remember that there are still people out there leading powerful, incredible lives and making a difference.

One Florida teen has overcome all the odds, including years of homeless, to graduate from his high school as valedictorian and we need to celebrate and recognize this huge accomplishment.

Martin Folsom graduated at the top of his class after struggling through years of homelessness.

Since he was a child, Martin Folsom and his mother Melva have been in and out of homelessness, according to Jacksonville television station WJXT.

Despite all the challenges he faced through the years, Folsom managed to keep his focus on his studies — and his efforts paid off when he was named his class’ valedictorian and graduated from Philip Randolph Career Academy in Jacksonville, FL.

“It kind of gave me a jolt in my chest a little bit, so it was a good feeling,” Folsom said in a video interview shared by KTRK. “It means a lot and it gives me a sense of all I’ve done and all I have accomplished was worth it.”

After college – Martin plans to attend Valdosta State University – he hopes to one day work for the FBI.

Martin credits his mom’s dedication and compassion for helping him succeed.

During his time in high school, Martin’s mom recalled desperately searching for a place to live with her son.

“Martin and I were in downtown McDonald’s and literally had nowhere to go,” she shared with WJXT. “I was on the phone calling people, calling organizations, and by the grace of God, we got into a shelter that day.”

Even with an uncertain living situation, Martin didn’t let that affect his studies.

“I never thought to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ or ‘I’m done with this,'” explained the teen, who served as class president from freshman year through senior year. “It’s always been, ‘Well, it happened again and I’ve gotta keep myself up and keep moving forward.'”

He was set to walk across the stage last week for graduation, but that was canceled due to the pandemic.

Still, he isn’t letting that damper his spirits — especially since Martin had to overcome hurdle after hurdle to earn the high honor. He and his mom have struggled with homelessness since he was a kid, and throughout his four years of high school. They became homeless while fleeing Melva’s ex-husband, who has since been sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder.

Within two years, the mother and son reportedly lived in different shelters across five states before setting in Jacksonville.

“It’s been a rocky road, been a lot of hardships, but seeing myself here right now, about to graduate and go to college, it feels good knowing that all the stuff I’ve done, it was worth it,” Martin said.

He served as the class president for his grade for four years straight, from 9th grade to 12th grade. Now he will go on to college in the fall — and says that will be a big day for his family.

“As far as I know I’m the first person in my family to actually get a college degree,” he said.

Selena Gomez Offered A Special Commencement Speech To Immigrads Celebrating Their Special Achievement

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Offered A Special Commencement Speech To Immigrads Celebrating Their Special Achievement

selenagomez / Instagram

It is graduation season and Covid-19 has changed how we conduct graduation ceremonies. This year, few high school seniors will be able to walk across the stage as states and counties protect their health and offer graduation alternatives. Celebrities have stepped up to give these seniors special commencement speeches.

Selena Gomez wanted to give immigrads a special commencement speech honoring their experience.

“Congratulations to all of the Immigrads,” Gomez says int he video. “I know that this is a virtual ceremony, but it is very real and it is very real to all of the families, and all of you, and your communities. I want you guys to know that you matter and that your experiences are a huge part of the American story.”

Gomez used her speech to connect with the immigrant graduates by relating to their stories.

“When my family came here from Mexico, they set into motion my American story, as well as theirs,” Gomez says. “I’m a proud third-generation American-Mexican, and my family’s journey and their sacrifices helped me get me to where I am today. Mine is not a unique story. Each and every one of you have a similar tale of becoming an American.”

Gomez gave her address for Define American, an immigrant-led organization.

Define American “is a narrative and culture change organization that uses media and the power of storytelling to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America,” reads the website.

Gomez fans are here to support the singer and her speech.

Gomez has used her platform to confront major topics in American politics and society. She produced “13 Reasons Why” to enter the conversation about teenage suicide and has used her social media platform to celebrate undocumented immigrants chasing the American Dream.

Gomez ended her speech giving all of the immigrads some words of encouragement.

“So, regardless of where your family is from, regardless of your immigration status, you have taken action to earn an education, to make your families proud, and to open up your worlds,” Gomez says. “So, I’m sending all of my love to you guys today, and congratulations, and I hope that you guys are set off to be everything that you want to be.”

READ: TV Special “Graduate Together” Gave The Class Of 2020 A Special Send-Off