“The Fight To Fight!”

Nico Gonzalez

Why do I fight to be free? Why do I fight to survive? There is an infinite number of questions that come to me day after day. Opening my eyes the other day I said to myself, “Holy s***, I’m in Maine!” Three years ago I wouldn’t have believed it. Conforming to a status that I didn’t want and trying to keep my life as “normal” as I possibly could. Now I can see that “normal” is something that doesn’t quite make sense to me.

One day I went to one of those Labor temp. agencies to work. Waking up at 4am to be there at 5am just to be on the “safe side”. Lots of people go because they don’t ask you for much, I went for about a month and about 5 or 6 times I wasn’t sent. There was always this sense of frustration every time, but looking around and seeing older women and men that resembled my grandparents back in Mexico broke my heart. Not understanding why my people had to suffer so much to be able to put a plate of food on their table. The tears in my eyes where inevitable as I walked back to my house thinking of mis paisanos walking back to their houses wondering if they too where tired of conforming to this society of crying because of fear. Conforming to live in the shadows, conforming to the reality that once they where on those vans on their way to the factory they might not come back to their families, that I might not come back to my home. The thought of not being able to say goodbye to my family and friends, the thought that I might be on a white van but on my way to a detention center.

There has been a lot of lessons and challenges thoughout my life. The things that I chose and those things that I would have never wanted. The truth of the matter is that I’m truly grateful I was brought to this country, the country that I call home.

There are phases that I went through knowing that I was undocumented. Times where I would ask myself why there where people who expressed hate towards my people but living in Pilsen, a predominantly Latino neighborhood in 90’s, I wasn’t really exposed to these situations. The community has been changing over the years and the families that occupied these apartments are being forced out and are having to move because of gentrification. Pilsen has/is getting gentrified. Now when I walk around all I see are memories of kids playing happily on the side walk with their mothers watching over them now they watch their mothers being taken away. They get to empty houses, to broken DREAMs and DHS waiting for them to be put in an unstable environment.

I’m tired of people debating about where the future of millions and MY future is going, tired of feeling like I don’t have a voice, tired of people speaking for me, tired of not being able to expand my horizons. As Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in “Negroes are not moving too fast”:

America is fortunate that the strength and militancy of Negro protest have been tempered by a sense of responsibility. This advantage can be dissipated if some current myths are not eliminated. The first such myth is that the Negro is going ahead too far, too fa t. Another popular, erroneous idea is that the Negro will happily take whatever he can get, no matter how little. There also are dangerous myths about the “white backlash,” which was so much talked about in the campaign just finished . And then there are myths about how the Negro riots occurred last summer. The white leadership-the power structure-must face up to the fact that its sins of omission and commission have challenged our policy of nonviolence.

Who is Free and Who is not? The answer is clear to me. The future is reflected on the past. The truth will set us free because I can no longer live in fear.

-Nico Gonzalez

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