Video: Undocumented, unafraid in Georgia
The video of this speech by Mohammad Abdollahi of Dreamactivist.org gave me goosebumps. This coming weekend, undocumented youth from around the country will gather in Atlanta to plan a structure for the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a new network that was formed by activists who, in fighting for the DREAM Act, engaged in daring direct actions last year. Thanks to Adam K for the video.
My name is Mohammad. I am undocumented. I am queer. And I am no longer afraid.
I can't think of a better place to come out than in front of nine thousand wonderful people. My family immigrated to the U.S. twenty-three years ago when I was just three years old. They came here and told me, if I worked hard, if I went to school, I would have an opportunity.
When I graduated from high school I realized that was a lie. Because of my legal status I was not going to be able to go to college. I sat back and I thought, "America's a great place. They won't waste opportunity. Something will change, something will get fixed."
So I waited. A year later I found myself at an admissions counselor's office waiting for something to change. I was given an acceptance letter by the university and told I could attend. Five minutes later, they told me they made a mistake. They forgot that I told them I was undocumented. They took my acceptance letter away from me.
It was then that I realized I could no longer wait. That I had to take action. That nobody can tell me how I can live my life. Last May, along with five other undocumented youth, I found myself sitting in the Senate office of John McCain in Tucson Arizona, refusing to leave until he supports our rights and the rights of all immigrants.
Senator McCain, just like Governor Deal here, had the option - the option to come out and support us. But he refused. Instead he chose to have us arrested, had us turned over to immigration authorities, and we were very excited by that. Because he was drawing a line in the sand, telling us where he stands.
And we are telling him where we stand. We are undocumented, we are unafraid, and we have to stand up. Over the course of the last year, I watched dozens and dozens of undocumented youth take the risk, step up, face arrest, face deportation willingly, because we are tired of waiting!
As undocumented youth, we recognize that our parents made a sacrifice when they came here. And as undocumented youth, those of us who can speak this language perfectly, those of us that understand this country, need to step up, need to recognize our privilege, and need to make a sacrifice for our families, and make the right thing happen.
I made my choice. Countless other undocumented youth have made their choice. We are going to take our stand in Georgia. We are going to show these legislators what it looks like, they are going to hear what it is to truly be undocumented and unafraid. And they have to make their choice. What is your choice going to be? Which side are you going to fall on?