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Immigrant’s touching response to SCOTUS affirmative action ban

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After hearing of the SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action, Jessica Leal of Houston was moved to express her feelings:

I am an immigrant.
From the accent in my words
To my skin tone and my dreams,
I am an immigrant.
Like my father’s calloused hands,
Hands that have worked since they were only four years old,
Selling limes, selling fabric,
Selling anything you can imagine a four-year-old sell,
door by door,
down the dirt roads in Mexico—
Or can you do that? Imagine that?
My father’s hands are tired,
But he cannot retire,
And it’s not because he hasn’t worked hard enough.
He’s an immigrant, like myself.
He had dreams; he had dreams as well.
He didn’t steal anybody’s job;
He earned it by the sweat of his brow,
Like will I.
But my hands are young and soft,
Because he guarded my sleep
As I dreamed the American dream,
And damn it, what a nightmare.
How high is the price to dream?
How long until we act to affirm our so-called Christian beliefs,
To lend somebody a hand?
To help somebody succeed?
I’m an immigrant,
A very privileged one, indeed.
But I do not forget where I come from;
I do not forget the days I witnessed violence and defeat,
Poverty and its heavy load of broken dreams.
I do not forget my grandfather,
who still harvests corn by hand in the fields.
I do not forget my mother
and the times she has been discriminated against
Because she cannot speak English well,
Because she is clearly an immigrant, like myself.
I do not forget the times I’ve faced racism myself.
The way my blood boiled up to my head
And completely silenced my voice.
The way I just stood there in shock.
Time, and time again.
No, this is not the dream.
This is a stark reality.
No. I will not stay quiet about race,
I will not just stand there in shock again.
Because I am an immigrant,
And one way or another,
I am reminded of that fact, everyday.

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