Before talking about the rally, we still have a few ‘coming out’ stories to share. Here is the story of Celene De La Cruz, a young person with a DREAM. If you want us to share your story, please send it to us at dreamteamnc@gmail.com

Having just turned twelve, what just mattered to me was trying to get in one of the best secondary schools in the area. I did my work and got the grades—I was so excited to know all my hard work had paid off. I got into one of the best schools. One day, my mother told me that we would be moving to the USA—I was destroyed and so upset. How could my parents do this to me? I missed my dad, who had been in the USA for three years, and I hadn’t seen him. I began to rebel against my mother, “I don’t want to go, please I have my friends and the rest of our family is here. I can’t leave” I would tell her this almost everyday.

In the summer of 2002, I went to my aunt’s house for the last time. She’s like a second mother to me, and to know I wouldn’t be seeing her again just broke my heart. I realized I had to follow my mother and come to the USA so our family would be together and our money troubles could be solved. In July we were in our way to the border; my mother, my sister, my cousin and her daughter, my other cousin, and I. First my little sister and my cousin’s little girl (ages four and five) were picked up by some people who crossed them to the USA.
Then it was our turn. I was terrified; another pair of guys made us walk through the night. We had to do whatever they would tell us. I remember not being able to see clearly; I got caught on a fence; I fell on a puddle of water; and then everyone was told to lie on the ground. All I could think of was “I hope my sister is okay and I hope there’s nothing poisonous on the ground”. We laid there for two hours; I was freezing when they finally told us to keep walking. We reached the spot where we would be picked up by a truck. There were twenty people including us who got into the truck. After we met, I finally got to see my sister, and then they got us in another car which would bring us to my father. I started school that same week; it took us more than a month to get here.

Seventh grade was hard—I couldn’t understand anyone! The only class I felt comfortable in was math. As I went from junior high to high school my grades improved drastically. I was one of the top students in most of my classes. I loved school and I still do. As I reached my twelfth year I began to give up. Why should I try anymore? The cost of school for me was too high. Nevertheless, I finished high school being awarded honor student and I was in the National Honor Society. How many people who have graduated from high school can say that? Not many.

Now, after being out of high school for three years, I haven’t given up the hope that the people of this country will realize how many minds are going to waste instead of being used for good. I’m not just talking about a few—I’m talking about millions. I can’t go back to a country I haven’t lived in for years and where the crime rate is high. I want what millions of undocumented students want: the opportunity to better ourselves and serve this country. But most importantly, I want to stop living in fear.

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