By Miguel Baca Barragan, Latin Life Denver Media
Imagine it’s your first day to school. An American elementary school. There you are playing with all the other kids, eating your lunch and speaking Spanglish, loving the new atmosphere of learning. Books with words of knowledge and hope. Imagine feeling that nothing could stand in your way, dreaming of a future in physics, medicine, law or whatever you desire. Then in your senior year of high school, you go to your guidance councilor for advice on how to apply for college and the response is, “This is unusual, your kind of people don’t normally look for this information. I can’t help you”.
You wouldn’t give up right? You fill out the financial aid packet, determined to not be pushed down. You are the first of your siblings of 11 to go on from high school. You send in your application with pride, looking forward to that letter that says they will help you attend one of the honored college institutions that you have already been accepted to. Strait “A” student all though your education experience. You run to the mail box, and there it is, the letter you have been waiting for. You open it with anxiety and anxiousness just to see the bold print, “Your application is incomplete. All personal information must be filled out.” You think, I DID! But, one line remains empty. You don’t have this information. Don’t even know what it is. You call your mom in Mexico and ask where is your social security number. She response, “you don’t have one Hita”. The DREAM is shattered.
This is the story of Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca, and many others. They have earned the title of DREAMERS. Children that were brought to America on the backs of their parents, looking for a better life. The term DREAMERS is not linked to just one country or part of the world, it is present in all races and ethnicities in American culture. Children not knowing any other country but America. Some don’t even know their family’s native language but yet in this society, they are viewed as “Aliens”!
At the conference I attended in Miami at “Hispanicize 2018” on Thursday April 19th I had the opportunity to hear Sarahi’s story. The workshop was titled “Latinos in the Crossroads of Politics, Policy and Leadership Identity. It was Moderated by Jose Diaz-Balart, Anchor MSNBC with the featured speaker Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca
I was so moved with her desire to not give up. She shared how she went down so many different roads just to find one dead end after another. All she wanted to do was to go to college. She never broke any law, never hurt anyone, never committed any crime. All she wanted was to live, learn and prosper. Like so many others she wanted to live the American DREAM.
At the young age of 19 she refused to give up. She has found a few non-profits that privately fund DREAMERS and has started her own company. Many DREAMERS like Sarahi don’t know where to go for help, or to find a way to seek higher education. Some just give up and enter the work force. Sarahi knew in her heart she was not the only one, and still pauses for a tear or two telling her story. Knowing that there are others, she is now the Founder and CEO of DREAMer’s Roadmap.