Culture

What The End Of DAPA Means To This Undocumented Housekeeper

Luba Cortés, an LBGT and Immigration activist in New York City, isn’t tiptoeing around her mother’s illegal status in this country. In fact, she just spilled all details of her undocumented life for The New York Times.

Share your story by clicking the link in our bio. ✊? #NoMoreClosets "My existence is composed of many identities; I'm latinx, I'm queer, and I'm undocumented. By default, my existence challenges all the different systems that exist to break and exploit my brown body. I've been using the label "queer" for almost 2 years now. It took me a long time to get there, "coming out" was never part of my plan because my desires and thoughts never felt unnatural. I never thought I would have to one day publicly announce that I was in fact "queer" but through the movement and my own politicization I chose to debut my sexuality and gender expression to my friends and my comrades. Coming out is not the peak of being queer, and it's not something that you should feel like you have to do. It's okay if you never come out, it's okay if you come out too. There's no shame in any of your choices. It's all about your safety. There are many different ways to live, build, heal, and love. Choose as many as you want. Remember that we continue to endlessly metamorphose. Who invented the closet anyways?" – Luba Cortes, Youth Organizer at Make the Road New York

A photo posted by United We Dream (@unitedwedream) on


Cortés’ childhood took place largely in strangers’ homes. She did her homework while her mother – a housekeeper – scrubbed toilets, dusted and vacuumed other people’s messes. Sometimes she scrubbed right along with her mother.


Cortés recounts the tale of one person refusing to pay her mother: “My mom was being exploited, but she was undocumented, and there was nothing she could do.”


Their hopes of a new life have just been shattered. “She has been undocumented for 16 years. In 2014, we thought this might finally change,” she writes. “President Obama announced a program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, which would have protected her from deportation for at least three years and allowed her to get a work permit.”


“From a young age, I understood my place in the world through the eyes of my mother,” Cortés continues. “Her jobs required her to use cleaning products that burned her skin and blurred her vision. Her knees have scars from all the years scrubbing floors. Housekeepers are the heroes of the immigrant economy — they do their work silently, efficiently, and find money on the table after the job is done. There is no exchange of stories.”  Cortés’ mother was certainly not a housekeeper back home in Mexico: “None of the people whose houses my mom has cleaned know that she was a lawyer, that she is an intellectual and passionate person; they don’t know that she crossed a treacherous border, or that she lives with the constant fear of deportation.”


Cortés says they will have to keep fighting the fear and move forward. “In moments like these, of sadness and defeat, I think of the night that we crossed the border. As we were running, I fell and for a moment looked up to the night sky, scared that I would be left behind. But my mom was there, she was there all along — she picked me up, and we started running again.”


Read Luba Cortés’ entire story here.


READ: In Ruthless Raid Of The Midwest, Feds Arrest Over 300 Immigrants

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Nonprofit United We Dream Is Crowdsourcing Immigrant Recipes For A Fundraising Cookbook

Culture

Nonprofit United We Dream Is Crowdsourcing Immigrant Recipes For A Fundraising Cookbook

unitedwedream / Instagram

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, people have spent a lot of time in their kitchens cooking food to bring them comfort. One unique thing about the self-isolation is that people are having to figure out how to make things stretch or substitute some of your usual ingredients. United We Dream wants to make sure they can do something good with all of the recipes we have created.

United We Dream wants to use your recipes to create some good.

According to an Instagram post, United We Dream is putting together an undocumented cookbook. In the spirit of sharing recipes and cultural moments, United We Dream is asking for people to submit their recipes.

“At United We Dream we believe in the power of art and culture to change hearts and minds and June is the perfect time to tap into our cultural creativity,” reads the United We Dream website. “On Immigrant Heritage Month, we want to celebrate our community through a joyous art form that every household does: cooking!”

The money is going to be used to help the undocumented and immigrant communities.

Credit: unitedwedream / Instagram

According to Remezcla, 100 percent of profits from the book will go to the organization’s National UndocuFunds. United We Dream launched the National UndocuFund to deliver financial assistance to undocumented people struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is likely that the fund will need to do some extra lifting to help communities recovering from recent looting and rioting that has rocked the U.S. in recent days.

“We know that nothing brings people together quite like food,” reads the United We Dream website. “The dishes that immigrants create, no matter how simple or complex, allow people to experience cultures other than one’s own and all the joys and pleasures that come with it.”

The cookbook is already getting people excited.

Credit: unitedwedream / Instagram

There is something to be said about people getting creative in the kitchen during this pandemic. Outings are limited because we are all staying home to slow the spread. There are also people who are still not at work. That is why we have had to get creative to make our food last.

“Today, times are tough because of COVID-19, but many working-class and poor households are embracing their creativity to create meals that both sustain their households and bring a moment of peace and comfort,” reads the United We Dream website. “We want to create a cookbook that reflects our diverse community and inspires memories of joy, comfort and togetherness!”

United We Dream understands the power of food.

Food is a unifier. Everyone eats and food is one way to connect with your culture. It is also a wonderful way to share your culture with other people. Sharing your food and culture with people is a special way to let your friends into your life.

The organization is still taking recipe suggestions. If you want a chance to give more people a look into who you are and your culture through food, click here to share a recipe.

READ: Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Things That Matter

Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Carlos Ebert / Flickr / Unsplash

Undocumented people are being left out of relief funds provided by the U.S. government. A lack of a Social Security number is why so many people have been denied relief assistance as the country grapples with an evergrowing number of COVID-19 cases. Organizations and states are stepping up to bridge that gap and give undocumented people a chance to make it through this crisis.

The Village Exchange Center in northern Aurora, Colorado is raising money to help undocumented families in Colorado.

The U.S. Congress passed an initial relief package of $2.2 trillion that came with $1,200 checks for all eligible Americans. One community left out is the undocumented community because they do not have Social Security numbers. This leaves millions of peoples without any financial safety net exacerbating the problems imposed by this pandemic.

The Village Exchange Center has sent 250 undocumented residents $1,000 checks.

According to Sentinel, the Village Exchange Center teamed received funds from the Denver Foundation, the Rose Community Foundation in Glendale, a third anonymous donor, and 30 individual donors. The $250,000 was already dispatched to the recipients chosen by the Village Exchange Center through money transfers or checks, depending on whether or not the recipient had a bank account.

This was the Village Exchange Center’s first round of COVID-19 relief payments to Colorado’s undocumented community.

The organization chose those who would receive the payments based on those who were laid off from jobs at restaurants, hotels, and other service industry jobs.

“They have no access to unemployment, they will not be getting a stimulus check or any other form of assistance, even though most of them pay taxes,” Mark Newhouse, a trustee at the Denver Foundation, told Sentinel. which helped build the fund. “And so, we quickly raised a quarter of a million dollars to run a pilot across the state.”

The organization is basing its work on the actions of California.

On April 15, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a state fund created to offer undocumented people relief funds. Gov. Newsom allocated $75 million in taxpayer money to give to undocumented people living in California. There are an estimated 2.2 million undocumented immigrants who live in California. Undocumented people contribute more than $10 billion in taxes to the federal government when they file each year. Gov. Newsom’s administration has been sending undocumented people $500 checks to help ease their COVID-19 economic impact.

“We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people that are in fear of deportations that are still addressing essential needs of tens of millions of Californians,” Gov. Newsom said according to The Associated Press. The governor continued by acknowledging that 10 percent of California’s workforce is undocumented. Gov. Newsom also highlighted that undocumented workers in California paid $2.5 billion in local and state taxes last year.

The Village Exchange Center is currently raising more money to offer to more undocumented people living in Colorado.

The first round of money was already distributed but the application for the next round of money will be available when the funds are secured. According to Sentinel, there were 180,000 undocumented people who lived in Colorado. The Village Exchange Center’s goal is to raise enough money to give each undocumented people in Colorado a $1,000 check to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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