Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Musings of a Latina Immigrant

While I've admitted that my identity as a woman has often defined me more than being Latina, I've been more connected to the issues of immigrants and Latinos lately, especially with the case of Marcello Lucero.

In case you haven't heard by now (although it has finally started getting more attention), Lucero was murdered by a group of teenagers in Long Island, and one of the primary reasons cited is because he was Latino. I think there's a strong connection between fear of immigrants and violence against Latinos, and the details of this case make it clear, at least to me, that this is a connection being swept under the rug. By looking at instances of violence, harassment, and discrimination as isolated incidents, it allows us to ignore the conversation we so need.

This case has touched me much more than I expected. For starters, I went to college in Long Island, where we were aware of the tension around us, but had no idea how bad it was or how to deal with it. But on an even more personal level, being an immigrant myself has always been challenging. I've often felt excluded, despite being a naturalized citizen. I've heard it all, from being called a spic, to being told to swim back home.

But rather than be held down, I educate others about what it means to be an immigrant. I've tried to be a good citizen, voting in almost every election I've been eligible to vote in, becoming an activist, and striving to make this country better.

So I share this story with you not to bring you down, but to make you understand how these cases affect others. And while anger, rage, sadness, etc. can all be driving forces for us, I want to use this as a stepping point to move forward. I think we need to channel the initial emotion episodes like this spark to open up the discussion. I believe it's time we bring up all the misconceptions and realities to better understand all sides and close this chapter in our history.


habladora said...

This is a moving post, thanks for sharing.

Guanabee also has some powerful thoughts on the murder of Marcello Lucero, and on the media and community reactions. You can read the post here.

sally said...

Thanks Habladora, I'll definitely check out the link! I still wish that cases like these, which are on the rise according to many, are not getting more attention.

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