Making History / Stories / Uncertainty

Italia G.

Italia G, 25, Riverside, CA, Born in Mexico

italiaI feel like I’m making a difference in my work at Mi Familia Vota. As a regional coordinator, I act as a community organizer to heighten civic engagement on a multitude of issues. In this election year, I’m focused on registering Latino voters and will help turn out the vote in November.  It’s up to people like me to make sure all of us understand the importance of voting, especially millennials who aren’t exercising the clout they have.

I’m very interested in local government and got my BA in political science with a minor in women’s studies. I first attended Riverside College and then graduated from UC Riverside. Only in my last year of college was I able to get in-state tuition and some financial aid. It really made a difference.

I first volunteered at Mi Familia Vota as an organizer and canvasser before being hired. It was a good way for me to learn about the organization and to support its efforts. I know I’m where I should be, doing what I love. My future will be in nonprofits or public service, wherever I can do the most good. My focus is local but the impact I hope to have reaches beyond local to national issues, especially immigration reform.

DACA transformed my life because now I can get on with my future. Before DACA I felt very uncertain about my future, though I tried to keep positive and productive. I can now make plans with access to school, work, credit and driving. I can take advantage of so many opportunities that the U.S. offers. I can give back to my community and make my parents proud. And they are proud of me. It is my way of thanking them for all they sacrificed to give me a chance at a better life.

I came to the States when I was 10. My brother, who was five, and I were in a car with another family while my mom walked across the border. We had been stranded in Tijuana for a month, trying to get the help we needed to make the crossing. It was a stressful time – all the uncertainty. We just wanted to reunite with my father who was already in California. And we finally got through and have been here ever since.

Family is important to me and I’m fortunate to live near my parents. My brother, who also qualified for DACA, is going to college. I’ve started my own family and my wife and I have been married for four months after being together for almost four years.

There is so much to do in helping formulate humane immigration policy and it starts and ends with getting the Undocumented immigrant community to take action, in believing that we can change minds and rewrite laws. I plan on continuing to do my part.