My father grew up in a small village in India, raised in a family where education was emphasized more than anything else, regardless of the many responsibilities that had to be taken up just to be able to survive. After a great struggle to obtain an engineering degree from a top institute, my parents both set out for a mission to the United States in hopes of providing my sister and I with the resources to build and maintain a comfortable life. America was and still is painted as a country of opportunity, freedom and acceptance; unfortunately, this was not the case for immigrants, especially for immigrants of color. The credentials my father worked so hard to earn was not enough. When he told me this story alongside many others, I could not help but wonder what kind of isolation and inadequacy he felt…that because he was not American or American-made, he was automatically less than.
Teaming up with several organizations dedicated to defending DACA, DACA recipients and immigrants made me realize that my father and mother were not alone in this. Our growing support and protection within our own communities is especially crucial during this political climate. These communities deserve to feel safe while chasing their dreams. They deserve the right to achieve their goals. They deserve the right to live for the sake of living, not for the sake of surviving. Expanding our safety net for communities of color and immigrants of color should be in our best interest because the hard work and courageous sacrifice that comes with moving to an entirely new place, learning an entirely new culture and finding ones place in a foreign land deserve to be defended, supported and celebrated. That is why #IStandWithDACA.