Request for Respect

What do you say to a people that left their homes in order to travel north? What do you say to a broken family? And what do you say to a people that has assimilated but still not accepted? Apparently what you do is you seize their dreams and use it as a hostage. We have been told to wait and wait… and wait until the moment is right for a comprehensive immigration reform bill. It has been a never ending tennis match, with our people being the ball that is being smacked by both party’s racket.  We believed it was over when Obama had said that we were going to use an executive order to sign the immigration reform bill, sadly, it was just another smack. Now this specific smack to the face is one that cannot be tolerated. This recent smack in the face taught us that we are just a game, because we have been told to wait until the midterm elections. 

So in our eyes that statement translates into this, we will give you your dream or at least an illusion of that dream unless you vote in our favor.  So, now on top of all of our sacrifices, decades of suffering, of  running, constant fear and paranoia, deaths, despair, blood, sweat, and tears; yet you still ask for more. How much should we suffer in order for a proper immigration reform, and the worst thing is that even if Obama signs this, there is no guarantee that things will get better.

Now is a comprehensive reform bill all that we ask for, no, it is only a part of a greater but simple request; we the Latino community in the United States, ask that we all should be at least respected. Immigration is not the only issue; we have seen the SB 1070 law in Arizona and even the banning of Mexican-American studies in Tucson, this constant fear of Latinos is ridiculous, to deny a people of their history because of the fear that it might inspire an overthrow of government or beget a left-wing ideology,  that kind of thinking brings us back to the 80s when the United States feared another Cuba so it began a spread of “democracy” in order to stop a spread of “communism”, but that “democracy” did nothing but destroy our homes.  When contemplating the abuse and the lack of respect towards the Latino community, with the ransacking of our homes and the killings. Followed by disappearances, the torture, the oppression, and this constant game of chess; can one finally begin to understand our constant fight.

The never ending fight for respect, respect for our people, culture, language, sacrifice, and now our history; this fight will not end now but later. We know in our hearts that our victories will become defeats and our defeat is perhaps the seed of a great victory. With every passing generation they are reminded of our struggles, our long fight for equitability and respect, for as long as one person reads our message we know that victory is closer and closer, for they will continue the fight where we left off.

About the Author

My name is David Alfredo Paulino, I am twenty-one years old and I am currently a senior attending SUNY Cortland. I am an international studies major with a concentration in Global Political Systems and my minors are Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and Asia and the Middle East. After I finish my bachelors degree in Spring of 2015, I wish to take a year break, while still being able to contribute to CNY Latino, and after that year I wish to join the Peace Corps and hopefully work somewhere in Latin America. After my service in the Peace Corps, I am going to pursue a Masters degree, most likely in the University of Peace at Costa Rica, which is a United Nations Charter School.

I was born in Manhattan, NYC, but I currently live in the Bronx with my Mother, little sister, and Stepfather.  Although I was born here I most of my fondest memories come from my frequent visits to the Dominican Republic, and always being there and I even stayed there for a year due to my constant going back and forth I grew to love the atmosphere there and sometimes I yearn for it more than the actual city. 

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