Marco is an undocumented youth leader living in Carrboro, North Carolina working towards tuition equity for undocumented students.

Marco is an undocumented youth leader living in Carrboro, North Carolina working towards tuition equity for undocumented students. Image courtesy of Steve Pavey.

I don’t think that anyone heard me
backing out of my driveway
I thought that all my worries were left with the love for my mom
Ready to turn the ignition I am stopped by a siren
Knowing that I was in for some trouble I let out an exhale full of my demons
With all the bad intentions out of my system
I can finally distinguish the sound of the siren
It was my mom crying out my name from the second floor window
As I walked into my house
I was getting prepared for a fight with the greatest fighter I knew
On my toes and with excuses as my only line of defense I approached her
I threw the first jab
hoping to win with golden gloves I asked her the golden question
What am I gonna do with my life?
My words made us both see stars
the brightest of which emerged from the corner of her eye
I knew it was truly a star because of the way it seemed like gravity didn’t affect it
With our sights aligned she came back at me
Que hay de mal con tu vida?
Not being able to slip the question I was brought back to June 9th, 2012

All of my peers dressed in black
Families coming together to celebrate
the accomplishments of their childrens last steps before college
But for me it was something different
For me it was the death of my education
After 13 years of being told that only with hard work
will you be where you want to be
I was buried under 13 feet of false hope
Every foot was a year that I spent with a concealed identity
An identity that was finally exposed as I walked across the stage
Finally face to face with the man in the black gown
and a scythe as sharp as my cap
I embraced him and I shook his hand
And in return he gave me a death certificate
A fraudulent diploma

My mothers words brought me back to reality
Que hay de mal con tu vida?
I’m not where I want to be ma
Y donde quieres estar mijo?
I wanna be in college isn’t that why you brought us here?
No mijo, los trajimos para que no tuvieran la misma vida que nosotros
What a life I have
Looking around me I see an army of tombstones
All these graves filled with the bodies of those who one day aspired to be
Engineers doctors lawyers and educators
Those who were shoved into boxes by
presidents politicians citizens

Topped off with shovels full of anti immigrant rhetoric where
Americans were told that anyone darker must be below you
But I refuse to stay below
I am risen with the remaining strength of those sharing this cold ground with me
I am risen with the roaring power of Martins voice that allows me to scream
that I am UNDOCUMENTED and that I am UNAFRAID
I am risen with the fortitude of Pancho Villas legs that stood firmly over his land
I am risen with the resilience of Armando sitting beside me in Honors classes
Knowing that this might be the last lesson they agree to teach us

I give some strength to all those in the same situation
The strength to resurrect and make these dreams a reality

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