I guess I would describe myself as an LGBTQ+ youth of color from San Bernardino who is very politically active and involved in my community. I’m athletic, and I’m smart.
When I was little, I saw my aunt get deported. I was in fourth grade and was sleeping on the couch just before I had to get up to go to school. ICE came to the door and got her. I watched them handcuff her and was so confused. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I began to piece everything together and I realized what happened.
So go through something like that again would hurt a lot. And I keep thinking about all of the little kids in my community who will be separated from their fame parents… This is my community - these are my people.
But we are all one people. We should have one fight.
For the LGBT Q plus community, marriage is legal now but if that were to ever change that would personally break my heart. It would mean that I couldn’t marry the person that I love. It should be equal marriage – it shouldn’t have to be any other way. Transgendered surgeries – those were taken away by the Trump administration then you best believe that I’ll be out there fighting every single day until we get our rights back. Because that’s denying someone of being who they are. And we don’t deny anyone else that. For my friends from that community not be able to be very who they are is just wrong.
And in San Bernardino, since this new Administration, our local politicians have been trying to criminalize cannabis users even though our state voted to legalize use. It’s outrageous what were going through just as teenagers let alone to imagine what this Administration could do in the upcoming years. That’s why I’m so involved in fighting for what I believe in - because it’s my future on the line and I’m not can I go down without a fight.
So much of my hope comes from the organizers I work with. Change is slow, and the continual work gets exhausting. Some days you want to throw in the towel when you’re canvassing and people are always slamming doors in your face. But my hop is my community. It’s seeing little kids in the streets every day. I’m fighting for my future, but I realize I’m also fighting for theirs. I don’t want them to grow up like I did, hearing all of this bad stuff about San Bernardino. I want them to be proud of where they come from.
At the end of the day, I see everyone in my community that I’ve grown up - I’ve seen older organizers go on to do bigger and better community changing thing - and seeing them be successful makes me hungry or for success. They’re so inspirational, telling us not to give up. And they really do.
Hope is everywhere. It’s in seeing things in our community that used to be one way finally be different. It’s everyone telling me the history of San Bernardino and how far we’ve come. All of that keeps my hope alive.
First off, immigrants would be able to get documentation. DACA and DAPA would be way more accessible and families wouldn’t have to fear. I would also ensure that the California drivers licenses for undocumented people couldn’t be used by ICE to track them down.
For San Bernardino, I want residents to not live in fear of gun violence. I would like the future to be brighter. For people to love one another here.
A lot of my friends are graduating this week and are saying, ‘Oh I’m going here or there and am never coming back here.’ And that makes me sad. Because I’m here fighting for this community. So I’d like to make this community safer.
ON WORKING FOR CHANGE
I organize with Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC), with the LIVE FREE project, to reduce gun violence and to stop the school to prison pipeline
I attend a lot of San Bernardino GENERATION NOW events – the events with our local councilors - to hold them accountable. And I organize in my school for the protection of transgender kids and LGBTQ+ rights.
I would say that my favorite project is definitely voter engagement because that’s a never ending project. I can’t get enough of it!
There will always be people who need to be persuaded to vote. I love organizing in our schools, telling my friends to register to vote and helping them get registered, and telling older people to vote for our future.
It’s so good to be able to help enlighten people who don’t know a whole lot of things through phone banking. I love talking to people in our community – even the rude ones that I get on the phone sometimes. It’s always nice when I get the people who want to have a phone conversation… and I try hard to cut it down to five minutes so I can get as many phone calls in as possible. But it’s tough sometimes. I love hearing their perspective on things and getting them out to vote to support our cause.