By Ann Marie Tran, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Intern
On April 10th worker, immigrant and civil rights advocates, including many members the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) from multiple states will be a part of rally in support of citizenship for the 11 million Americans who are undocumented at West lawn of the Capital.
I will be present at the rally in support of my own family members and friends who have/had once arrived in the United States as aspiring citizens. I have witnessed their struggles and successes and hope to stand amongst other allies and constituents, who will be taking their personal stories to the members of Congress on April 10th to advocate for a more reasonable and humane roadmap to citizenship.
The immigrant community deserves the right to a reasonable pathway to citizenship, protection and civil rights in the workplace, viable resources to integrate into American society and community without discrimination practices in enforcement, better conditions and judiciary system regarding detention, improved health care system, and, lastly, equal treatment for all regardless of status, gender, age, and sexual orientation.
As a first generation daughter of Vietnamese refugee immigrants, I have first hand experience with the hardships and struggles as well as the accomplishments achieved by my parents and other aspiring Americans.
At about age 20, both my parents were forced by the politics of the Vietnam War to migrate from their homeland to the United States. Once we arrived, they saw the opportunity to create a new and improved life for themselves, my sisters and me.
To help us fall asleep, they would sing us lullabies in sweet melodies of broken English rather than symphonies of gunshots and crescendos of dropping bombs. We complained about our plates full of unwanted vegetables unaware of our mother’s experience in a refugee camp surviving off of small portions of expired food. In exchange for the long hours of work, which limited their interaction with each other to only 30 minutes a day for first few years, my parents earned enough to ensure we have access to a quality education.
My sisters and I are products of the hard work and sacrifices that many immigrant families similarly put forth to support their families.
I plan on not only attending the rally on Wednesday, April 10, I also will hold the experiences of my parents close to me and remember them as chant, “The Time Is Now.” I look forward to being a part of the history that brought my parents to America as well as fighting for the security and welfare of all immigrants who share the same goals of a brighter future.
Will you join me? For more information for the Rally for Citizenship, visit: http://www.citizenship-now.org/ or email APALA’s DC Chapter President Katrina Dizon at Katrina.Dizon@gmail.com.
Ann Marie Tran is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of California Santa Cruz. She is a double major in Sociology and History of Art & Visual Cultures as well as a minor in Education. She is currently a participant of the University of California at Washington DC (UCDC) program through which she is interning with the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).