El Centro de Muchos Colores is a member of the community collaboration called the Unity Project. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the immigrant community and our receiving com-munity. One way we do this is to work with our community members to help them with leadership and English language skills. This will enable our immigrant friends to participate in society more wholly.
Below, you will find the two biographies submitted by two of our community members. Gerardo appeared at the Immigrant Forum related to the Campus Common Reading Experience on Wednesday, Oct. 6 in the Student Union. Linda shared her story in anticipation of being a panelist at the event, but had conflicts with scheduling because eh is studying English at the Adult Education Center — also a Unity Project member.
La Movida staff is happy to bring you their stories.
Gerardo Xahuentitla, 23, came to the United States as a fourteen-year-old boy. But, unlike Enrique in the book Enrique‘s Journey, Gerardo did not cross over to
Linda, 36, was born in Chihuahua City in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico to a Tarahumara Indian mother and a Mestizo father. Her mother raised her in what she calls ―the Sierra Tarahumara‖ – or the remote area near what gringos calls the Copper Canyon
In a small shack, she and her two siblings lived a very poor life – ―
Linda left la Sierra when she was 11, and at the age 14, she moved to la Ciudad de Juarez to be with her father and siblings. That‘s when she stopped school and started crossing the Rio Grande illegally to work as a housekeeper. ―It was really easy to cross then,‖ she says. But, when she married and had her first of three children, Linda decided that crossing everyday ‗
Linda thought she‘d be in that routine forever, but the recent drug cartel violence with forced her and her family to seek another place to live and that‘s where Durango comes into the picture. Linda‘s housecleaning employers had friends who lived in Du-rango, so she came first with one daughter and then the entire fam-ily joined her. Linda and her three children—ages 16, 9, and 4—and her husband have lived and worked in Durango since February 2009. Both husband and wife take English as a second language and enjoy Durango‘s outdoor activities like hiking and picnicking in the mountains with their family.
El Norte alone. He came with his mother and younger sister. They were crossing to join their dad who was already working and making good wages in the United States. They left their home of Tlaxcala, Mexico with the plan to cross over the border illegally. The young family made several at-tempts to cross over using an underground tunnel. Gerardo remem-bers the story well because he says every time they were easy to catch by the Border Patrol officials because they were so wet. ―It was really, really difficult,‖ he says. The family decided to wait two years in Nogales, Mexico so that Gerardo‘s grandparents could file the visa paperwork and eventually sponsor them for visas to come to the United States. Gerardo has lived in Durango since 2002, graduating from high school in 2005, and attending Fort Lewis Col-lege for two years. He works for his family and has served as an active community volunteer with Companeros – a Latino rights advocacy group – and has been an activist for the DREAM act. The federal DREAM Act would allow undocumented students to attend colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates. If passed, it would also offer a path to citizenship for these youth if they finish college and/or join the military service. demasiado pobres” she remembers. They slept on the floor with one blanket and would hold each other like ―pollitos‖ (little chicks) to keep warm at night. de mojada’ was not ideal. Her older brother who was already living in the United States sponsored her application for a work visa, so she and her husband – who worked as a gardener and painter – could cross over the bridge to El Paso to work and return every night to live in Juarez.