Photo and interview by Sylvia Johnson
I have two kids, my little boy is eight, and my little girl almost three. They’re hard work, but they kind of make everything worth it. I had my little boy my senior year. I still had about four months to go after he was born, and I stuck to it. I missed about a month of school. A lot of people told me I wasn’t going to graduate because I was pregnant. I think that inspired me. When people tell me I can’t do things, I actually do. I graduated third in my class with a child!
I hadn’t really noticed how many challenges undocumented students have until I encountered scholarships. There was a really nice scholarship that I wanted. It was $40,000 per semester. It pretty much paid for everything that I needed. I didn’t qualify because I didn’t have a social. When I didn’t get that scholarship, it was just heart-breaking. After that, I had to work a little bit harder than everybody else.
As of now, I am kind of living the American Dream—having my own house, being married, having my kids, a family here, and having a lot of opportunities. But the fact that I can’t travel to Mexico or anywhere else outside of the U.S. kind of feels like a trap, you know, like a cage. There’s a song in Spanish, and it’s actually one of my favorite ones. It says that it’s a “gold cage.” You pretty much have everything that you want except you are in a cage. I think just being able to travel back and forth would be the cherry on top.
— Brenda, 26
The New American Dreamers highlights the stories of some of the incredible Dreamers in our community. Created by photographers Sylvia Johnson and Kerry Sherck, and produced in partnership with the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, The New American Dreamers is a positive reframe of who many of the immigrants living in our community are. Their stories reflect the dreams, hopes, challenges, and ambitions that are inherent to all of us as human beings. In the context of such a toxic narrative currently being perpetuated about immigrants in this country, our goal with this project is to flip the perspective through stories of incredible Dreamers who are our friends, clients, and neighbors.
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