5 years ago I met someone who changed my life. I was working at my dream job, I was young, I was single, and I was vibrant. I had everything I wanted at the time except for a college degree. I sat in a room at a conference with this person for HOURS (we lost track of time), me: complaining about the barriers to going back to school; and him: recounting the ways he had overcome very similar obstacles and encouraging me to surpass the difficulties that I had allowed to become roadblocks to my success. I returned home from the conference and applied for the next semester at a local college and have been in school ever since. Over the last 5 years, this person has inspired me; he has pushed me, has encouraged me, and has become the voice in my head always reminding me of my greatness. He believes in me in all of the moments that the world makes it too difficult to believe in myself. I would like to take this moment to do the same for him that he's done for me for so many years.
Education is not the pre-determined "rite of passage" for everyone that so many people who didn't have to struggle to attend nor finish school because of financial barriers experienced. I am an example of someone who had been denied access to a college education because I was an undocumented immigrant, and because I was poor. I constantly considered how significantly more difficult it was for people "like us" to seek higher levels of education: because of classism; because of racism; because of xenophobia; because of capitalism; because we live in a country that is more invested in bureaucracy and hierarchy than it is in the sustainability of its civilians; a country that makes that disinvestment from oppressed communities vividly clear by strategically and intentionally denying access to the "liberties" that are imposed on us as a necessity for basic survival, while simultaneously stealing our access to those things - the very same obstacles the system itself created. For some of us...a lot of us, the life-long pursuit of the access to that "rite of passage" is the very obstacle that denies us the ability to work just as hard once we've "made it in the door". We are left on the "outskirts" struggling through the varied hardships of the realities of oppression that keep people "like us": poor people, Black people, people from the hood, people from the "ghetto", and systemically oppressed people from our RIGHT to an education.
The very same person who I met 5 years ago, who has been my constant support system ever since, is now asking for the support that he needs to be the first man in his family to obtain a college degree. If you have $1, if you have $5, if you have $5,000...please give what you can. Every single semester, our financial limitations threaten what should be a RIGHT to education. For those who do justice work, here is where the fruition of our work becomes evident, not just through our "work" but through our commitment to secure the rights of those most in need. Always, in love and revolution! Please donate here: Education is Revolutionary