An UndocuQueer Word of Encouragement For Bernie Sanders

Remarks by Carlos Rojas-Alvarez using the truth of his life, his community, his flesh-theories to encouraging Bernie Sanders to stay the course and bring light to the lives of those often buried in the darkness of America the American Daydream.

Good Morning, Amherst. Buenos Dias, Amherst.

My name is Carlos Rojas Álvarez and I want to share a bit of my story with you. When I was five, my parents made the courageous decision to leave Colombia and bring me to the United States, Boston, specifically, to seek a better life. And we did. We found welcoming neighbors, my parents found steady work, and I fell in love with school.

We became three of the more than 11 million immigrants living and working in the United States without papers. I just turned 22, probably like many of your children. My mother is probably like many of you. Hard-working, honest, loving. A mom.
We are Undocumented and Unafraid. When I say Undocumented, you say Unafraid. Undocumented? (Unafraid!) Undocumented? (Unafraid!) Our rights, and our success, are inextricably tied to yours and vice versa. There is no you vs. us, there is only we.

That is why we need a president who will stand with all Americans, whether they have enjoyed the privilege of being in the United States for generations, or whether they’re the first generation.

That is why we need a president who will fight for the right of immigrant students like me to attend the college of our dreams and to end private prisons and the profitable detention of immigrants like my mom.

That is why we need a president who will fight for broad and inclusive administrative relief and humane and compassionate immigration reform.

And because undocumented immigrants are workers, because we are women, because we are black and Black Lives resoundingly and undoubtedly Matter, because we are Muslim, because we are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and because undocumented immigrants are migrating to escape the brutal effects of climate change, we need now more than ever a president who will stand with all, not just some of us, and not just when it’s politically convenient.

Senator Bernie Sanders has a proven record of standing by the values we hold dear. More importantly to me, I am excited by the prospect of movement-building across great divides.  That is what this campaign is about. I am excited to make a promise to you that I will continue to organize my immigrant community if you will promise to continue to organize yours so that we can build an authentic grassroots movement unified by common values and issues in order to work with Senator Sanders, and hold him accountable if necessary, too, when he becomes the next president of the United States.”

Thank you.

Follow Carlos @SaysCarlosRojas on Twitter. Carlos Rojas Álvarez is an Undocu-Queer organizer, advocate and policy consultant born in Medellín, Colombia and raised in Boston, where he attended Boston Public Schools his whole life and graduated from The Boston Latin School in 2012. As a high school student, he became increasingly uncomfortable with hiding his status as an undocumented American and did not find the proper channel to come out as undocumented and unafraid until his senior year of high school when he met leaders at the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM). Prior to joining SIM, Carlos channeled his frustration and anger in the face of injustice and a broken immigration system into education policy and organizing. Bursting out of the Latin bubble, Carlos became heavily involved with Youth on Board (YOB) and the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC), where he led major campaigns for school discipline reform, the inclusion of student opinion in educator evaluations and sat on the Boston School Committee as the student representative, the only elected position on the committee, his senior year of high school. When his status barred him from enrolling in college, Carlos became the Education Policy Associate at YOB, a core leader of SIM, and the New England representative to the National Coordinating Committee of the United We Dream (UWD) Network. He has served as SIM’s Campaign Manager since August 2013.

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