On January 1, 2010, we embarked on a 1,500-mile walk from our home in Miami, FL, to Washington, D.C. We walk to share our stories, so that everyday Americans understand what it’s like for the millions of immigrants, especially young people, unable to fully participate in society. It’s time that our country come together to fix a failed system that keeps millions in the shadows, with no pathway to a better life.
Our journey will be long and full of hardship, but for us, we see no other option. We are putting our futures in jeopardy because our present is unbearable.
We are four students from Florida – Felipe Matos, Gaby Pacheco, Carlos Roa, and Juan Rodriguez – who were brought to the United States by our families when we were young. This is the only country we have known as home. We have the same hopes and dreams as other young people, and have worked hard to excel in school and contribute to our communities. But because of our immigration status, we’ve spent our childhoods in fear and hiding, unable to achieve our full potential. We walk in order to share our stories and to call on our leaders to fix the system that forces people like us into the shadows, stripping us of the opportunity to participate meaningfully in society.
In solidarity with my brothers and sisters making this trek for not just themselves, but for everyone else who can’t. The current immigration reform that needs to take place is the current reincarnation of the civil rights movement that has been going on longer than I have been on this earth. We continue the work that has been laid out before us from the streets of East L.A. to China. No matter what your race, gender or sex this is a fight that knows no borders.