By Alicia Torres-Don

In April it was in Georgia. This month, in California. The fear of being undocumented is being dropped across the nation. We as undocumented youth are coming out of the shadows as UNDOCUMENTED, UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED. We are doing this not because we enjoy the thrill of putting our lives on the line every time we come out, but because we, as the directly affected, are living the urgency of the situation on a daily basis.

We have no option to “opt out,” we are undocumented and we live our lives as undocumented. We have to face secure communities, the 287(g) program, and checkpoints on a daily basis. We have to leave our homes every morning with the image of our parents praying with all their might that we may return. We have to face and endure the constant injustices that are being committed against us, our families and our communities. It is because we see, we live, but more importantly, because we recognize that this is not right and that we have the obligation to challenge such injustices that we dare come out as UNDOCUMENTED, UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED.

We live in a time where an epidemic of anti-immigrant sentiment and injustices sweep our nation and it is our obligation to expose such injustices and to challenge these wrongs. We the undocumented have to own our status, our stories, our voice, our power. We are a collective to be reckoned with. To all the undocumented youth in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and all those states where the light seems very dim, I tell you that the power to change and challenge starts with you. Own your status, reach out, organize and challenge.

Like many of us, Erick Velazquillo was at one point living in the shadows, knowing that he was not the only one but feeling like he was–until he was put in circumstances that shook him, made him own his status, and forced him to organize. He is now fighting his deportation through his own means and the collective of undocumented youth that stand behind him. Let’s DROP the FEAR and own our status, our stories, our voice, our power. We are UNDOCUMENTED, UNAFRAID, UNASHAMED, organized and determined to challenge the many injustices that we, our families, and our communities are living. I invite you to DROP the FEAR and take a stand. Here’s how: make a simple video with your story and post it up on your Facebook and send it to us to post on our blog. The time is now.

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