California Educator

June/July 2022

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Call on Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented students and educators. Go to Photos by Kim White. The notion of the American dream is so flawed to me. People say, if only you work hard enough, you'll make it. My family and I have done that. Yet our status in this country has been threatened for more than two decades, and we've lived in fear. The narrative of this dream ignores the barriers that are intentionally created to keep people oppressed and away from real growth and opportunities. We can't live in fear anymore. We need to be able to share our stories and continue to do the work we want to do. As an undergraduate student, I got involved in advocat- ing for and making connections with fellow undocumented students in community colleges and high schools. I worked to debunk myths that permeate immigrant communities — like the false belief that you have to be a U.S. citizen or have a green card in California to go to college. I was able to take my work into the union. I was the first openly undocumented president of Student CTA, and I've led advocacy trainings at Student CTA and CTA. I think they have resonated with folks — in the union you don't need to be a citizen either because it's irrelevant, and even using that to debunk what it means to be a leader. We need a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocu- mented immigrants already living in the U.S. This would be such a victory for all of us and would solidify years of grass- roots organizing. It would also show the value and power of working as a community as well as our influence in politics — whether we have voting ability or not. VIRIDIANA CASTRO SILVA A New Dream: "We can 't live in fear anymore. We need to be able to share our stories and continue to do the work we want to do." 19 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 2

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