Looking up into the auditorium’s balcony, filled mostly with students, Carmen Velásquez said: “Young people here do not yet realize what their parents and adults do to survive a country that does not know the value of who we are as Mexicanos.”
In her talk, Carmen tells a story that begins with her own parents―with her mother named Soledad, born in Iowa, and renamed “Shirley” by her teacher―and describes her own experience with discrimination as one of the only Mexican children in her own school, and her lifelong fight to see better opportunities for students and families who would...
In her poetic and revealing talk, Laura Rámirez shares her connection to her ancestors, her journey to find home, and the work to build a better world for those to come.
Laura tells a story of loss and suffering, but also one of beauty and resilience. She finds home with other Mexicanas―both in Chicago and in Iguala, Mexico who have faced heartbreak themselves but still struggle and fight for the sake of their children, often at their own risk.
“To make home and to reclaim our land,” Laura shares, “is to reclaim ourselves.”
Laura J. Rámirez
When Mexican immigrants come to the United States, they struggle with the transition from their old home to the new. This sense of isolation from American society only becomes more entrenched with the lack of connection to the American political process.
Xochitl Bada emphasizes the importance of Hometown Associations in promoting binational civic engagement. Civic engagement, according to Bada, is not limited to the voting booth, but also includes faith-based moral communities, parent-teacher associations, local school councils, and many other types of organizations.
Undocumented students are one of the most vulnerable populations in the United States. Living with the fear of deportation, immigrant students face incredible challenges in pursuing higher education in the U.S.
Maria Gonzalez and Martha Razo, two undocumented students from Chicago universities, share their perspective on the “American Dream”. Through the use of performance art, they highlight the emotion of the immigrant narrative.
About Maria and Martha
Undocumented Youth Organizer
A native of Mexico City, Maria migrated to the US with her parents...
Jorge Valdivia explores parallels between the marriage equality movement and the history of the Mexican immigrant community in the United States--two groups that continue to fight for political and social equality.
Jorge emphasizes the importance of controlling the way our story is told. Whether we achieve this through media portrayal, watchdog groups like GLAD, or the formation of allies from other communities, Jorge maintains that the first step is having the confidence to speak for ourselves.
Latino LGBTQ Activist
A native of Chicago’s...