What you said about sacrifice

By Michelle Villegas, OFA Regional Organizing Manager

This week, we asked you to tell us about a time when you witnessed someone sacrifice something out of love. Here are a few of the stories we heard:

“Homelessness is no stranger to me. All my adult life I have struggled with keeping a job; the stress from a job inevitably landed me in the hospital, which led me to lose my job and end up on the streets. My dad bought a house with an extra bedroom he didn’t need just so I could stay there while I applied for Social Security Disability, so I wouldn’t have to be on the streets anymore. I am forever thankful to my father.” — Shannon G

“My parents are an inspiration to me. They have sacrificed so much for their family. My father was disabled with Muscular Dystrophy and I know that he was in a great deal of pain, but he never complained and he went to work every day. My mother was in a motor vehicle accident and was disabled when I was 8 years old — and she also continued to work for many years after that. In fact, both of them continued to work for decades and showed us that you never give up. My parents supported me emotionally throughout my whole life; they were my biggest cheerleaders and believed in me when I didn’t necessarily believe in myself.” — Ronda S

“I came from a communist nation at the age of 12. I came unaccompanied. My parents sent me because of a fear I would be indoctrinated by the communist regime. These were the early sixties. For a variety of reasons, my parents could not follow me. Borders were closed and the escape was risky.

I never thought much of my experience from anyone’s point of view but my own. Then my two sons reached the age I was when I came to America. Instantly I understood what sacrifice for love meant.” — Carlos C

And for my friend Kenia, the most poignant moment was when she saw her father cry. “I’m sorry I brought you to this country to be undocumented,” he said. “I’m sorry I failed you.”

Around the time when Kenia was 8 years old, news broadcasts in her home town of El Salvador were getting more and more alarming — the levels of violence were extreme.

So her parents, out of love for Kenia and her two siblings, decided to make a potentially fatal journey that would lead them to safety. To a place where their children’s futures could be decided by their hard work, not by rising gang warfare. (Kenia tells her story beautifully. Read the full story here in the NYT.)

Kenia, like thousands of other immigrant children, received DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This program has allowed undocumented immigrant youth to live, work and go to school, out of the shadows without fear of deportation.

But DACA is under imminent threat — the new administration is considering dismantling the program completely, and indiscriminately deporting immigrant youth who have only ever known this country as their own.

With immigrants being forced back into the shadows out of fear for their futures and their loved ones’ safety, we all need to step up and do our part.

The first step: Get informed. Immigration reform can be a complicated issue, but at its core it’s about love, sacrifice, and dreaming for a better future. Start this week by watching this 30-minute documentary that follows the lives and challenges of four immigrant children:

Thanks for being a part of this.

Originally published at www.ofa.us.