Open Letter: Mother of Dream30 Member Responds to Congressman Gutierrez
The following is my translated version of Maria Irene Hernandez’s open letter in response to Congressman Gutierrez’s attacks on the parents of the Dream30, the NIYA, and the Dream30 themselves:
Louisburg, North Carolina, November 5, 2013.
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Maria Irene Hernandez, mother of one of the members of the #Dream30, Brandol J. Pahuamba. I want to express through this letter what I feel regarding what Congressman Luis Gutierrez said in his press release regarding us, the parents and sons and daughters of this group.
A couple of days ago, Congressman Gutierrez said that we were being manipulated and forced to do all of this. First off, we are not children who have to be told what to do, and our sons and daughters are not either. We are infuriated by this. It made us feel like we are like we are worth nothing and that we do not have our own capacity to think, talk, fight, or defend our sons and daughters.
I believe, as a mother, that when we refer to our children, family, loved ones, or our community, we are as capable as anyone to save a loved one. Unfortunately, the congresspersons do not see it that way. They think that we should bow down our heads, get down on our knees, and never fight for our rights. They are wrong. God gave all of our sons and daughters the ability to defend themselves without being “manipulated.”
Personally speaking, these organizers or “manipulators” as the Congressman calls the NIYA and the Dreamers, have been a constant source of support for me, for all of the parents and their children, and for the community. Despite their young age they know exactly what they are doing. But, how do they know? Because they have lived it. A person like that can move the world.
Thanks to them we have been reunited with our children, something that these politicians should have done. They are walking around all over the place promoting reform. As the saying goes, “there is a big gap between words and acts.”, but these young people have acted. They are acting for reform. These politicians should be ashamed of themselves; they talk about supporting an immigration reform, but they never do anything to reunite families!
The Congressman Gutierrez said that he will withdraw his support for these organizers, but I say, “What help?” The only thing that they have helped do is to deport two young persons, Rocio and Brandon. The Congressman Gutierrez and his colleagues in Congress know well that if they help these dreamers, more dreamers will come and that is what they do not want, the unity of family. If it were just for them, we all would have already been deported. He prefers to defend White Americans more than his own community. I have much more to say, I should write a book because there is so much; but maybe the Congressman is going to think that I cannot write it because I am Latina and undocumented.
What Mr. Gutierrez said was low and shameful coming from a Congressman. To attack his own community with indirect insults is the worst. We will continue to fight for our rights, despite what Gutierrez has said, we have the strength to confront the most powerful in this land. God himself said: “Be leaders, not followers; God will help those who help themselves.”
We will continue fighting for what we deserve. We will not stop until our dreams are a reality. It does not matter who tries to stop us, without a fight there is no battle nor a victory. We will fight for our children and for a just reform for all. Fighting is how one achieves change and for that no one needs to be “manipulated.” Thank you.
Sincerely, Maria Hernandez.