NOTES FROM THE TRAIL

Good-Bye Florida

Tags: felipe

Posted on February 11, 2010 by felipe | Post a comment

From Bradfordville, Fl.

 

Many have traveled through the “Sunshine State” but very little people know how beautiful it really is. From the swamps and creeks to the subtle hills of north Florida, we tried to fully enjoy everything that the scenery could offer. As we prepare to leave our home state to discover a different reality across state lines tomorrow, we acknowledge the beautiful and difficult moments we lived in our state. Needless to say, the Trail of DREAMs did not emerge out of thin air. It came from the hopes, dreams, and everyday struggles of everyday individuals in Florida, and from the need to overcome the different abuses that we are living in our everyday lives. We are the product of a movement of young people screaming on the top of their lungs and not finding a voice or even a refuge in this nation we have grown to recognize as home. It was a personal process that started when I joined Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER) two years ago not knowing how to identify my own oppression or how to engage in my own struggle.

 

It was a long and difficult process of coming out of the shadows, and a process of self discovery and actualization. The Sunshine State is known to be the place that the sun never seizes to shine, but I was pushed into the cold shadows of a system that time after time did not recognize my full humanity. It was also here that I learned to organize myself and my peers to bring about the change that all of us need so desperately. This was the state where I found my voice and the understanding that even if I am shackled to a prevalent system that tries to keep all people of color below the poverty line, I could never lose the freedom of my mind and spirit. As I am getting ready to venture into this next stage of the trail, I can’t deny that I will miss Florida and every single human being that the trail has had the pleasure of encountering thus far.

 

I will remember every face, smile and tear. When I was organizing back in Miami, I remember being the one having to wipe the tears of and offer a shoulder to so many undocumented students. Now that I am on the trail, I still have to do the same in every town that I go. The question is still present in my heart, “when will the suffering stop?” How many mothers will have to say good-bye to their children because they are being taken away from them? How many more young people will be denied a future? The truth is that if we, as a people, decide to wait for Washington to make decisions on our behalf, then we may never see the change necessary for this country. We must have the courage NOW to change our own communities, challenge the institutions of power that fail to prioritize this human rights crisis, and make it happen ourselves!

 

When we were in Miami, we received the blessing from our families and community to take on this journey. Later, we were joined by our friends from Palm Beach that walked with us and embraced us. Soon after, we were in Orlando and Gainesville where our friends from University of Central Florida and University of Florida stopped their busy schedules to take care of our physical and emotional needs. We met with the Sheriff from Swannee County and the Chief of Police from Live Oak to ask for more protection for the immigrant population in that area. Now we are leaving Tallahassee where we met with legislators and the Governor to talk about the importance of in-state tuition. It’s with a heavy heart that I leave Florida –my home- to what it is a foreign land to me. My body and heart have begun to change tremendously. My feet are missing patches of skin and I am constantly feel a numbing pain in my lower back, but nevertheless, my spirits are high. We are very close to begin a new stage that hopefully will continue being as successful and beautiful as it has been so far. We are so grateful to every person who touched our lives during this first month. My skin and voice has gotten stronger, and as we build a platform for other youth to join us, we are forging a place where young people can be heard. Walking is just our grain of sand for justice in this world. We hope that you will step forward and place yours as well.

 

I dedicate this blog to my family and the families of my peers on the trail, who held us in their arms back the Freedom Tower in Miami filled with hope as well as fear for our endeavor. Be assured that we do this for you and we do it with love.

Leave a comment:

Comments

Posted by: Adam on Feb. 11, 2010, 10:26 a.m.

Thank you. Just please stay strong, focus, and encuraged! It will bring beautiful and historicaly world known results. Every time when I read your blogs I am just fuller of hope and optimism. Thank you for being caregous and doing the walk for us all undocumented immigrants.

Posted by: Gabriela Mejia on Feb. 11, 2010, 11:38 a.m.

Ay Felipe, I will never forget the day I met you. You brought me so much hope with your charisma and that sweet smile you give to everyone you meet. I love you so much and just know that you are one of my greatest heroes, you and all the walkers. Don't give up.