A Stranger in a Strange Land

Photo Credit: Harrie van Veen

Photo Credit: Harrie van Veen

I am a Jew. I am a Latina. I am a mother. These are the most salient components of my identity. The order of importance of these identities changes, sometimes daily or hourly, depending on the circumstance. But, yesterday, September 5, I felt all those parts of my identity, simultaneously and acutely.

I don’t usually post on live Facebook video feeds. However, yesterday I received a text from a young woman I have known for 10 years. She is a Dreamer (an undocumented immigrant who was brought to the United States as a child) and currently studying at a university. She is like a daughter to me. I have known her since she was in elementary school. I have followed her academic career and have served as a friend, mentor and advisor.

She texted to let me know that she was participating in a pro-DACA demonstration in front of the White House. I went to social media and watched a live feed and posted the following: “Stand Up, Fight Back!” which I knew she would see. Unfortunately, many others also saw my post. I began to receive vitriolic responses from random people telling me to “Go back to where you came from.” “Your kind doesn’t pay taxes.” And “You illegals.” These are the only invectives suitable for print.

I was flabbergasted. These people don’t know me or know my narrative. Yet they feel emboldened to say such things to a complete stranger. A Stranger.