I have lived in Phoenix, Arizona, for 24 years; 18 of those years I have lived in fear, but not anymore!
I was scared of the police and I was scared of Arpaio. I thought that they were more powerful than my family. But now they are the ones that are scared of us because we no longer fear them, and this year we'll demonstrate that to them when we finally get Sheriff Arpaio out.
I arrived in the United States when I was 20 years old with my daughter, Viridiana, who was only 1 year old.
In Mexico I lived in a place full of violence and poverty. And everyday I would ask myself if this was the kind of place where I wanted my child to grow up. She came into the world in a house with walls made of thin wood, a roof made of sheet metal and cardboard, and dirt for a floor. The poverty was immense. Because we didn't have money for medical attention, we lost our first child.
When Viridiana came into the world things began to get even worse; I was a victim of domestic violence. That was when I decided to risk it all and migrate to the United States. Once here I remember that I knew that I existed but I was not yet living because of the fear that I still felt.
But in June of 2010 the life of my family began to take a different direction. The law SB 1070 was one of the most discriminatory and racist laws that the country had seen against migrants and it was about to take effect in the coming weeks in Arizona.
During that time I heard in many different places about a large march that was going to happen in Phoenix against SB 1070. The day came and with my family we put on our white t-shirts and we went to the March. There I remember seeing so many people with their families and their children I felt so excited and I understood that with our unity anything was possible.
When I remember this moment, a saying from my country comes to mind, “The courageous live until the coward decides.” I understood that the courage that all of these politicians had was built with hate and oppression against our community. And it was in that moment that all of us being present in the march that I realized that it was all of us who were stronger because we were together.
Since then my daughter, Viridiana, and I decided to start talking with our neighbors about our rights.
But even then there were some moments when I was scared. Especially when Viridiana decided to participate in civil disobedience for the first time in Arizona. I asked my daughter to not get involved but she told me that what she was doing, she was doing for us and our community. She said that it was better to live a life fighting than to live a life on her knees.
It was these words that my daughter spoke that gave me the strength to finally turn my fear into action.
Now I am a part of the Bazta Arpaio campaign where together we will make sure that the infamous Sheriff Arpaio does not get his reelection. We are lifting our voices against everyone who shares his anti-immigrant political views, like Donald Trump. And we are leaving a legacy in Arizona and the rest of the country that we will not let anything or anyone violate our human rights. And we're not alone, recently a poll showed that the majority of voters are not in favor of Arpaio’s politics.
I cannot vote but I am committed to go out into the streets, lift up my voice, protest, and knock on doors to talk to those who can. Each and every one of us can and must do everything that is in our power to be part of the change. If we truly want secure communities in Arizona or any part of the country we do not need more police or more prisons. What we need is to stop Trump and end the virus that is Arpaio.
My family is strong, hard-working, and has many dreams. Like my family there are millions more that for a very long time, their dreams have been oppressed by people like Arpaio. But this year we are going to win and all of this is going to change.
I do not regret having crossed the border because what I did I did it with the goal that my family would have better opportunities. And putting an end to the terror of Arpaio is one of those things, that, as a mother, I feel I have to do so that my children have a better life. Our families will not be safe until we take Arpaio out of office and we repair the damages that he has done. I'm very excited because this year with the strength and the fortitude of our families we will put an end to Arpaio's reign of terror.
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