In The Valley I Will Lift My Eyes To Those Of You Who CHOSE To See Us There

Over 700,000 DACA recipients across the country are anxiously awaiting the decision from the Supreme Court upholding -or not- the Trump Administration decision to terminate the program. Today, we are featuring a blog post by a DACAmented colleague in an effort to center on the voices of those directly affected by this decision.

(Reposted with permission from Jennifer Zenteno’s blog. You can read the original post here)

Four years ago I wrote my first piece on immigration. It was also the first time I came out as undocumented. I can relive the experience from the words I wrote and reading back, I still feel the fear – the anxiousness of what I was about to reveal.

Since 2016 a lot has changed. I’ve walked this journey with a lot of the Dreamers and Doers that sacrificed their own safety so that I could live boldly and stand in front of everything that ever frightened me and say, “Fuck Fear,” as one of them taught me. I’ve learned about how beautiful migration is and how monarch butterflies do it all the time in the summer, autumn, and the winter between two nations.

Time has also taught me that flowers and I are not too different. We all come from something, we all have roots. Much like roots, we can nurture or neglect them and depending on what we choose we can either grow or perish. I also learned that I am not the original dreamer. I never was. But my lineage is made up of dreamers that turned into doers and that I have the privilege of doingbecause they did.

What the past has reaffirmed was that in 2017, we faced a challenge turned into an opportunity. And the decision we made was to continue choosing to thrive harder – serve harder – love harder.

And that brings me to now.

There is a song I love called Hills and Valleys. The song starts off painting this picture of someone who has walked among the shadows. Through this person’s journey they’ve felt the pain of heartbreak and have held the blessings. When I think about that song I think about how we’re still in the valley. We haven’t gotten out yet. Maybe we never will. I don’t know. Four years ago only marks the moment I decided that it was time to come out of the shadows but this journey started long before that. It’s been nearly twenty years since we saw the blueprint of our first lifeboat. We’ve seen many versions of it since then. Twenty years later it’s still a blueprint and I keep wondering if we’re ever going to build.

There is this part to the song that says,

In the valley I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there.

When I think of that, I see all of the dreamers, the activists and doers who every day choose to TRULY see us. I used to disregard “the work” because I didn’t want to sacrifice myself for it because I knew I could put it off to someone else who would do the sacrificing for me and either way it’s not like anyone saw me so how can you hold accountable what you don’t know exists. But you all saw me. You saw US.

I’ve lived some of my greatest dreams in the last two years and even some that I didn’t imagine. I’ve learned that even in the valley there are some wildly beautiful moments like the creation of new life. In that new life I see myself, I see you, I see my parents, I see my beautiful grandmother reflected back. I see joy, hope, and a million new possibilities.

I don’t know what decision the Supreme Court will make on DACA but I do know that every moment in life is marked with an opportunity. For today’s opportunity and in this moment I choose to mark my eternal gratitude. When I look back at this years from now I want to sit, read and remember those who sacrificed, those that let us be at the forefront of making decisions on how we wanted to create, build, and move for ourselves instead of choosing for us, and to remember how grateful I was today that you chose to fight another day with me.

In the valley I will lift my eyes to those of you who CHOSE to see us there.

As one of my favorite authors would say…

Tying you closer than most,

Jennifer

Published by

Gilda (Gigi) Pedraza

Executive Director and Founder Latino Community Fund (LCF Georgia) Social Entrepreneur, Community Advocate, Latina, Mom, Wife. Lover of Life.

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