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By Areli Zarate – Special to the American-Statesman Posted: 10:54 a.m. Wednesday, April 6, 2016
As a high school Spanish teacher in Austin, I see fear in the eyes of some of my students.
It is the kind of fear that is based not on “if,” but “when,” their lives will change for the worse. Powerless to stop it, these students wait with worry, unable to focus on classwork, to eat or sleep well, or even to stay healthy.
I do not just hear their stories; I share their fear of coming home at the end of a school day and realizing that a parent has been lost, inhumanely swept into the system of needless deportations.
My mother, like the parents of some of my students and like millions of Americans across our nation, does not have legal status. She too is waiting to apply for President Barack Obama’s immigration initiative Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known as DAPA, which has been blocked by a lawsuit that could be decided soon by the U.S. Supreme Court.
That I am a teacher is due to the president’s earlier initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), for people like me who came to the U.S. as children without documents.
Arelia Zarate is a teacher at Austin High School.
I entered the University of Texas with the ambition of becoming a teacher so that I could give back to the country that let my family believe in the “American dream.” I also knew that my own dream to teach might not become a reality because, without lawful presence, I could not be hired after graduation. I breathed a sigh of relief in 2012 when the president announced DACA.
But my happiness, and that of my three brothers who also have DACA, is incomplete because of the worry that my mother can be deported any day. That possibility also weighs heavily on my 14-year-old brother, who is a U.S. citizen.
As a resident of the state that led the lawsuit to stop the expansion of DACA and the new DAPA initiative that would help my family and so many others, I feel frustrated that decision makers refuse to see us as real people instead of political debate points. Their actions have major consequences.
I think of a former student who was earning top grades until her father was deported. She and her two siblings and mother were left homeless because her father was the family’s sole provider. Staffers at school reached into their pockets to try to help them, but their trauma did not end until the father returned.
Just a few days ago, another student confided in me the possibility of being eligible for DACA. I suspect the information is not being widely shared because undocumented students also fear being rejected by their peers, especially while the media keeps broadcasting hateful, anti-immigrant speeches by too many political candidates. The students don’t know who to trust.
We face uncertain futures. In my own family’s case, DACA and DAPA give us hope. But sometimes, hope turns into horror at the thought of being deported to a violent region of Mexico that we do not know; a country that my parents left so that they would no longer have to choose between food and school for us. Here, we are succeeding and living the American dream. I fear that without DAPA and expanded DACA, our dreams can too easily turn into nightmares.
My students and I are members of strong families with real ties to our communities. We strive to work hard, to become respected professionals and to succeed in life.
We look forward to the day when we can march into a future built on the promise of an America that breaks down barriers instead of building walls. That promise is now front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court. I pray that they don’t let us down.
Cesar Chavez bust to be unveiled Saturday in Denver park
By Diego Aparicio
POSTED: 03/26/2015 12:01:00 AM MDT
UPDATED: 03/26/2015 03:46:50 PM MDT
A new bust will be the highlight of this weekend’s celebration of Cesar Chavez Day in Denver, when local supporters unveil the new artistic piece installed in a public park named after one of the nation’s most prominent Latino civil rights leaders.
The bronze sculpture — commissioned to local artist Emanuel Martinez, who has three pieces of work in the Smithsonian and four more inside the Colorado Capitol — is the latest effort of a small but resilient group of Latinos who 10 years ago convinced the city to rename the park along Tennyson Street and 41st Avenue in west Denver after Cesar Chavez.
“They remember Chavez, they remember his work and they remember that we always have to honor the people who put food on our tables,” said Ramon del Castillo, a Chicano studies professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and a founder of the Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Committee that leads the grassroots efforts. The group paid for the bust and donated it to the park.
Many parts of Denver already honor Cesar Chavez. In addition to the park there is also a federal building and a charter school named after the iconic farm worker. City employees take off the last Monday in March to observe the holiday.
But there is no Cesar Chavez street, boulevard or road. There have been attempts in the past to rename 38th Avenue, and most recently Morrison Road, but advocates say they find it very difficult because of city regulations.
“The problem is (that) the rules in the city have been changed since they renamed 32nd Avenue to Martin Luther King Boulevard in east Denver,” said District 3 Councilman Paul Lopez, who handled the most recent petition to rename Morrison Road, a commercial strip in the Westwood neighborhood in Denver. “There was a really big fight out there and, although they accomplished the name change, the city changed the rules faster. The rules are such that they don’t really make sense.”
According to city documents, renaming any street permanently requires groups lobbying for the change to reach out to 100 percent of property owners along the area in consideration. Then, 85 percent of these property owners must support it. In 2011, Lopez’ office contacted about 200 property owners and confronted the same issues that previous groups encountered, like lack of response and absentee landlords.
Renaming any street could become costly to surrounding businesses and residents who suddenly would have a new address, said Rowena Alegria, chief communications officer for Mayor Michael Hancock.
According to Lopez, the estimated cost to rename Morrison Road after Cesar Chavez was about $10,000 to replace 20 street signs at $500 each. The city doesn’t have a record of an estimate cost for everything else involved. Residents and business owners won’t have to contribute to the new signs, but they would pay for new checks, business cards, etc. Groups lobbying for the street name change would likely have to pitch in, too.
What: Mass followed by march to Cesar Chavez Park at Tennyson and Utica streets
When: 9 a.m. Saturday Where: Regis University Chapel, 3333 Regis Blvd., Denver
Updated March 26, 2015. This article has been revised to reflect the following correction. Originally, due to incorrect information from a source, the process for paying for costs incurred when a street name is changed was incorrect. Residents and business owners would not be expected to contribute to the cost of changing the street signage. Proponents have generally raised money to cover those costs. Residents and business owners would have to cover their own individual costs for changing any of their own business collateral, such as reprinting checks, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc.
Today is the birthday of the late Cesar Chavez, an honorable Mexican- American civil rights leader. He was an American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist, who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association His public-relations approach to unionism and aggressive but nonviolent tactics made the farm workers’ struggle a moral cause with nationwide support.
During his lifetime, Colegio Cesar Chavez was one of the few institutions named in his honor, but after his death he became a major historical icon for the Latino community, with many schools, streets, and parks being named after him. He has since become an icon for organized labor and leftist politics, symbolizing support for workers and for Hispanic empowerment based on grass-roots organizing. He is also famous for popularizing the slogan “Sí, se puede” (Spanish for “Yes, one can”) which was adopted as the 2008 campaign slogan of Barack Obama.
He received belated full military honors from the US Navy at his graveside on April 23, 2015, the 22nd anniversary of his death. After his death he was honoured by getting a portrait of himself in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.. And in 2003, the United States Postal Service honored Chavez with a postage stamp He was even nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize by The American Friend Service Committee (AFSC).
2nd Annual Chicano Woodstock coming Sept. ‘2016’ Announcements coming soon! We are looking forward to a great event this year with Familia & Friends…………..Si Se Puede Raza!!
Team Elias founders Aztlan Raza Unidos & Adelante Raza Unidos