We are four students from Florida – Felipe Matos, Gaby Pacheco, Carlos Roa, and Juan Rodriguez – who were brought to the United States by our families when we were young. This is the only country we have known as home. We have the same hopes and dreams as other young people, and have worked hard to excel in school and contribute to our communities. But because of our immigration status, we’ve spent our childhoods in fear and hiding, unable to achieve our full potential. We walk in order to share our stories and to call on our leaders to fix the system that forces people like us into the shadows, stripping us of the opportunity to participate meaningfully in society.
My personal experiences and my thinking process are unique as any other individual out there. No two minds are the same, just like snow flakes, but they can share the same patterns and designs. I once wrote in a paper that I don't believe in marching, protest, hunger strikes etc. for the reasons they are done. Reaction. Whether it's to cause it or to act on it. I never saw their value and even in 2006 when Phantom L.A. came out of the shadows to march, even as my dad said to go with the family to go report on what was going on, I stayed home not wanting to participate. I don't regret my decision. My mind still hasn't changed, but through better understanding, learning and growing I can see that while I may not be one to take up arms and protest, it doesn't take away from those that do.
With that being said, I bring to your attention the Trail of Dreams,
On January 1, 2010, we embarked on a 1,500-mile walk from our home in Miami, FL, to Washington, D.C. We walk to share our stories, so that everyday Americans understand what it’s like for the millions of immigrants, especially young people, unable to fully participate in society. It’s time that our country come together to fix a failed system that keeps millions in the shadows, with no pathway to a better life.
Our journey will be long and full of hardship, but for us, we see no other option. We are putting our futures in jeopardy because our present is unbearable.
These four individuals are marching 1,500 miles from Florida to Washington D.C. Can you comprehend that !?!? I can't. I've walked all my life, but never to the extent that they are, clocking in 17,18, 20 miles a day. The tremendous will and courage for them to go through this is beyond words. I stand in solidarity with them, my brothers and sisters in arms. There's not much I can do on my part and with the crisis on Haiti, everyone's attention is focused somewhere else. This doesn't take away from the suffering happening to them, but I can't help be selfish and continue to bring attention to one of the cause of my generation. Older people talk about protesting Vietnam, the L.A. riots and things like that. Well, when I'm their age, I'm going to be telling kids stories about the stuff that went on in my time. Go to their site and support anyway you can, whether it's with a donation or a kind word. Support my brother and sisters in the current incarnation of the civil rights movement.