As three young women shared their stories of being treated unfairly in the United States without citizenship, tears emerged and a conversation began on immigration reform at the BRIDGES for a Just Community gathering April 2 in the SU Ballroom.
Leo Calderon, director of Latino Student Affairs, introduced the young women who either currently attend NKU or will be here beginning in fall 2013.
“I find it amazing how some of these students are courageous and putting themselves out there for a needed change,” Calderon said about the efforts these young women are making to go to college despite not having gained their citizenship in the U.S.
Jessica Vasquez, who is taking a semester off from NKU, shared her story.
“Coming out of high school I didn’t expect to go to college, but my parents knew I wanted this,” Vasquez said.
She teared up at the mention of how hard her father worked to get her to college.
“I don’t know how my dad did it,” Vasquez said. “I only saw him an hour a week because he was working so much.”
“When I met Leo I told him I wanted to come out as an undocumented student,” she said. “I feel free.”
Discussion at the gathering suggested that the solution to immigration reform may be political, but president and CEO of BRIDGES Lynette Heard said the power is in the student’s hands. Young adults between ages 18-34 have the most contact with other social groups, according to the most recent progress report in the Greater Cincinnati area.
The next BRIDGES gathering is May 10 at 1 p.m. at Cincinnati State University.
For more information, check out the 4/11 edition of The Northerner.