I recently had the opportunity to visit my Alma mater, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) for the first time after my deportation in 2009. Although my visit was only a virtual one since I cannot physically return to the U.S. (for the now), it was a very special moment. I joined Jill Anderson and Nin Solis in presenting the forthcoming Los Otros Dreamers, The Book.
My story is one of 26 testimonios featured in this book project which provides an avenue for returnees like me to ‘share what is like to be rejected in one home [United States] only to feel homeless in another [Mexico]’. The stories counteract public discourse which makes the struggles we face upon return invisible. Most believe that we are returning to our country of nationality, to our ‘home’. But many of us can barely call home a place we have not lived most of our lives.
In my case, my home continues to be the U.S. and when I was addressing the audience at CSUN (including people I knew while I was there), I felt I was back at home; remembering my time there as a student, my fondest memories of belonging to a community that witnessed my personal, professional, and educational growth.
Latina Lista featured a commentary of the event with a link to the recorded presentation. Hope you take a moment to watch it.
Thank you CSUN for providing us this opportunity. I keep you close to my heart.
Authors of ‘Los Otros DREAMers’ share stories of deported youth in Mexico at campus event
May 6 2014 | Published by LatinaLista
Anyone who has heard coverage of immigration reform over the last few years has also learned about the efforts of DREAMers, young undocumented students who were brought here to the U.S. as children and now find themselves in a social, civic and political limbo.
Yet, what not many people on this side of the border realize is that there are DREAMers south of the border too. They are the ones who got caught up in the nation’s over zealous attempts to enforce immigration law and were deported. They are young people who were educated in the United States, and had little or no ties to their birthplaces.
These DREAMers are known as Los Otros Dreamers and are the subject of a new book by Jill Anderson and Nin Solis.
On April 25, 2014, the two authors appeared on the campus of California State University Northridge (CSUN) to talk about the young deportees they met in the course of researching their book and an ongoing campaign on behalf of los otros dreamers.
At the event, the authors were joined via Skype by one well-known DREAMer, Nancy Landa, who just happens to be a former student body president of CSUN and now finds herself pursuing a graduate degree in London after spending several years in Tijuana after her 2009 deportation. (Editor’s Note: Nancy Landa is also a long-time Latina Lista contributor.)
Los Otros Dreamers includes twenty-six testimonies, written in the preferred language of the contributor (English/Spanish/Spanglish) and then translated into English or Spanish. Three stories are also translated into indigenous languages. A full-page color portrait accompanies each testimonio, along with several photos of the homes, families and landscapes in which these Dreamers are navigating their return — Prof. Jose Luis Benavides, in a post for the CSUN Arts and Media website.
The featured video is a recording of the livestream of the campus event.