domingo, 13 de abril de 2008
Ciudadanía Sin Límites
Me escribe mi amiga María Martínez, abogada, salsera empedernida, intelectual de la vida, estas palabras al hacerse ciudadana estadounidense. Son palabras iluminadas...
Maria V. Martinez
March 27, 2008
Overlooking the beauty of the San Francisco skyline, I stood in line amongst a sea of immigrant faces. As we waited to be taken to our seats, I began to cry. Just five years prior, I stood in the same place to receive a law degree, not once did I tear up even though I worked so hard to get to that point: Six years in a junior college, two years at a university, about 20 law school applications later, I was finally accepted. Three years later, I finally achieved my goal, without tears.
The naturalization process is a bit simpler: one form, about five hundred bucks, fingerprints, some basic government questions, and a swearing-in ceremony about two hours long. Yet, something about it made me cry. I wondered and still do, were these tears of joy or sadness, or both?
One of the memories I have of the country I was born in occurred the last day I was ever there. I stood on top of the stairs leading me into the plane and I remember looking back and saying goodbye to my country. I was only eight. Before my exposure to war, I spent the first part of my childhood running on soft-bedded sands. My father would take my sister and me out into the ocean with our little bodies inside inner tubes. The ocean water was I am sure only a few feet deep, but to us it seemed as if we were floating in an endless sea. This is why I cried. The sea of immigrant faces I stood with on that lovely spring day also had their own stories of untold memories of a country they once lived in, once left, but still love.
Now, I am an American citizen. I get to vote for the very first time in an historic election. I get to vote for the first time ever in my life. This is also why I cried.
I am an American immigrant; a child of war; a former illegal immigrant; a pacifist. My story is one of many, but mine nonetheless. An immigrant’s story remains to be told. A man who crosses quietly over the border at night leaves behind his story, just as a child who enters a plane to never return to her homeland left behind everything. Now I stand miles and several imaginary lines away from that sea I once floated in wishing that stories can be once shared with others without fear and without borders.