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Now What?

I graduated 13 days ago on May 13th. I graduated from a prestigious university here in Texas: Texas A&M University. A university that is ranked as one of the top public universities in the state, a university that taught me what it really means to be an American. Now, I have been in the United States for almost two decades and knew what it meant to be American long ago, long before I applied to college, long before my high school prom, long before middle school chaperoned dances, and long before I learned my ABC’s in English and not in Spanish.

But at A&M I was surrounded by boots, cowboy hats, big trucks, and “Howdy”. Now, let me retract a little – these things don’t fully nor correctly encompass what it means to be an American, but to me they are what it means to be a Texan, thus what it means to be an American. I am a Texan I wear boots, and go to the rodeo, and I secretly wish to own a big truck one day.

The lone star state is all I know, and all that I am loyal to, but I digress. I graduated less than two weeks ago with a Bachelors of Art in English Literature and an incorporated minor in Interdisciplinary Studies and another minor in Spanish. My ultimate goal: to teach 7th grade language arts at my old middle school where the kids needed some inspiration and encouragement to keep going, someone that came out of their hood and made it. Someone to show them that they can.

I am fully aware of the current teacher and budget cuts, and the fact that even with my undocumented self I still probably would have a lot of trouble getting a job. But right now they’re closing doors without even getting to know me. They don’t care that I am an Aggie, and that my alma mater is known for training the best teachers in the nation. They don’t care that I grew up in this school district and that I want to come back to it when many don’t even want to remember they came out of here. They don’t care that in my spare time I tutor (and often teach) the very kids they’re failing. They don’t care about my passion or my love for teaching. And they don’t care about the time and money I’ve invested in becoming an educated member of society.           

All they care about is that I don’t have a social security number.

That’s all they care about.

Because at the end of the day it’s always about the adults and never about the kids. They don’t care that all I want to do is help build a better tomorrow by teaching our children, by teaching our tomorrow.

So, I am angry. I am angry because I always knew I would get my degree, but I didn’t realize how nasty it was going to feel when I had that degree that states I am capable, and can’t use it. The only way something  will change is if the D.R.E.A.M. Act passes, so I urge everyone to support the D.R.E.A.M. Act and call your senators and representatives.

My degree has just started to gather dust there in it’s frame, hanging on the empty walls, waiting for more decorations of things in frames that record our lives happening, but nothing can happen right now if I’m not allowed to move forward with my education.

Sincerely,

A very frustrated teacher

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1 thought on “Now What?”

  1. “Maestra,” your skills, talent and spirit are needed by the thousands of frustrated working people who are connecting up with OccupyHouston.org ! You are a teacher. So why not teach those of us who have taken to the sidewalks, parks, occupytogether websites and city-hall steps across the USA in what is called the occupytogether movements? Come teach us. Come learn with us. Come and let us teach together, learn together, occupy together, march together, rally and demand together a NEW WORLD where the overriding INTERESTS WILL BE PEOPLE’S NEED… NOT CORPORATE GREED. 🙂

    There is something happening in our America that has never happened before. The current economic system cannot continue in the old way. The 99% are hurting to the point that they, at last, recognize what immigrants have known for centuries— the big U.S. corporate owners have no soul. The drive for profit and the concentration of wealth and power derived from private corporate ownership over the instruments of production, now threaten the earth, air, water with pollution and devastation.

    You are a teacher in many ways… because of your training, and knowledge, and most importantly because of your spirit and sense of mission. YOUR STUDENTS NEED YOU. You will find some of your students every night this week at 7 pm at Tranquility Park near the corner of Bagby St and Walker St., in Houston, Texas. Many of your students can also be found at http://www.occupyhouston.org …. Come teach us. Come learn with us.

    REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Working folks (including teachers and unemployed workers) are waking up and smelling the coffee ! The big corporations are throwing thousands of teachers and other public-service employees
    permanently OUT OF WORK. The big corporations now use human-displacing technology and have little need for “antiquated” human workers to produce most goods and services. Just look at the robots, computer chip, electronic and high-fiber technology churning out the automobiles in the T.V. commercials. Big corporations in their drive for super-profits now see “human workers” as “superfluous,” “inefficient,” “useless” — a drag on their profit-margin.

    SO IT’S A NEW BALLGAME—historically, economically, socially —anyway you want to look at it.
    U.S. citizen and immigrant workers alike are striving to unite to take our America back from the so-called 1% , i.e., the big corporations and their billionaire private owners who have concentrated the wealth, power and governmental control in fewer and fewer hands to the detriment of “the many.”

    Check out http://www.occupyhouston.org on today’s Oct 18, 2011. It’s home page declares SOLIDARITY in standing together with HoustonUnited in opposing profiteering corporations that make big bucks through detention and incarceration of non-violent undocumented families and workers.

    OccupyHouston joins with HoustonUnited (Houstonunido.org) in calling for an end to
    anti-immigrant government-funded programs like the reactionary 287g and “secure communities.”

    We are the 99%. Come teach and learn with us. MariaElena Castellanos… participant of
    occupyhouston.org……….. my personal email is: castellanosLaw1@gmail.com …..
    Pa’delante, mi maestra 🙂

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