This past month of June was just soooo busy! I finally had my Garifuna Coalition presentation for the Dream Act. (In case you didn't know, the people of Garifuna are an ethnic group of mixed ancestry who live primarily in Central America.) So when they come to the US, they travel on visas, which then may expire. Thereby, leaving them undocumented. So, whenever that does happen, the Dream Act would play a prominent role in their children's lives.
It was an hour and a half presentation with 22 Powerpoint slides. I thought about it; thought about it; and thought it some more, on each and every slide. After all, there was a lot of information to cover. And yeah, I can sit here and relate each individual fact and figure, but there was something different in my presentation this time.
I remember that I had made a vow, months ago - that the next time I would speak for the Dream Act and undocumented students, I would mention the suicide and depression aspect. I felt that if God blessed me with the opportunity, I should be out there, helping those that are depressed due to their undocumented status.
Some of us know the story of Gustavo Rezende, and it is quite sad. I personally feel that there are better ways to handle such a situation. But when you're 17-25 and deal with such a difficult situation in life, "how do we help such people?" is my question.
As for right now, in this blog, I'm just going to say what the emphasis was in my speech for the depression and suicide segment - that I hope by talking about this it would first lead to awareness, which would then lead to prevention, which would ultimately lead to the saving of many lives. I sincerely wish that my speeches would lead to this result - as noble (and grandiose) as that might sound. Or just be the start of something...
Whereas, I can only imagine that studies will be done on the issue of suicide and depression on undocumented youth. Also, as well as prevention methods to dealing with such an issue. I just have a feeling that more needs to be done from the mental health community AND everybody in general, esp if this trend continues.
And, would you know that I did mention this in another speech? This time for the Advancing Justice Conference in Alexandria, VA. Many/all in the audience didn't know that undocumented students went through such a devastating (mental) health aspect in their lives. They would tell me that all they thought they suffered from were the loss of a "good" job, school, or car. "Hmmm," I thought, "Maybe it was a good thing I did mention this, so it could be something that people actually think about as it relates to undocumented students." I just would never would want another human being to suffer in silence, then do the unthinkable, esp if they thought nobody could or wanted to help them.
I'm going to finish up and say that its a tough road - which we call life. And as I've gotten older, I think its how we handle our problems and/or roll with the "punches", which either makes us or breaks us. Its never going to be easy, and maybe that's a good thing. When we are challenged, and defeated (possibly many times), and are able to get right back up, perhaps we are able to grow and know what we're really made of. And if so happens to be that you're the one giving speeches and presentations, I think it helps being a little bit "different" and to think outside the box for the good of the people.
I just hope that all this makes sense, and lives are saved. That really is my hope, and my dream.