Maria’s Journey to Activism

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April 26, 2017

You’ve met our clients Mr. Lau and Pedro. Today, we introduce you to Maria, a young womxn in our ASPIRE program for API undocumented youth. She inspires us and will inspire you, too.

Maria has traveled a long road. Ethnically Chinese, she grew up in Mexico. In high school, Maria and her sister came to the United States to join their mother. Soon after, however, Maria’s mother had to return to Mexico, leaving Maria and her sister to navigate a new country by themselves as they approached adulthood. After she overstayed her visa, Maria became undocumented. As a result, she had difficulty accessing health care, housing, and a job. Determined to go to college, she began paying her way through San Francisco State University with side gigs and a whole lot of hustle.

Normally reserved, Maria walked into her first ASPIRE meeting hesitantly, seeking a safe space to further understand her identity as an undocumented Asian immigrant. She found much more, eventually becoming a leader with the goal of serving other vulnerable community members. Today, Maria is an ASPIRE Community Organizer, guiding young people and developing them as leaders. She leads Know Your Rights presentations for immigrants and is active in state and local campaigns to disentangle police from immigration enforcement.

Maria is also an artist. She launched an art workshop series called Flip the Script, which uses art as a tool to create dialogue about the range of immigrant experiences and to highlight the intersection between physical health, mental health, LGBTQ+ identities, and immigration.

Through ASPIRE, we have nurtured a new generation of advocates, arming youth with the skills, tools, and resources to fight on behalf of marginalized communities. Young leaders like Maria are how ASPIRE protects our immigrant communities from deportations, increases health care access, and creates a broader API voice in the immigrant justice movement. We’re thrilled that she picked up her bullhorn and found her voice.

ALERT: ICE is planning raids on the Cambodian community in the next few weeks. If you are Cambodian, have a deportation order, and were asked to check-in with ICE soon, contact 415-952-0413 to speak to a lawyer.

For resources and information regarding legal services, visit SEAraids.org
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ALERT: ICE is planning raids on the Cambodian community in the next few weeks. If you are Cambodian, have a deportation order, and were asked to check-in with ICE soon, contact 415-952-0413 to speak to a lawyer.

For resources and information regarding legal services, visit SEAraids.org

View previous comments

My understanding is the US plans to deport 200 cambodians per year until everybody with an order of removal is deported. I don't mean to cause fear but I strongly encourage anybody with a removal order to fight their cases now because once you are detained it becomes much more difficult to have access to attorneys and other resources. I fear this cycle will continue over the next few years.

8 hours ago   ·  10

5 Replies

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None of us are free unless all of us are free from fear! This is unacceptable!

9 hours ago   ·  8
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I love you all, my Southeast Asian brothers and sisters! You’re not alone in this fight!!

3 hours ago   ·  1
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Started with Mexicans, Muslims, now Cambodians... who is next?

8 hours ago   ·  3

2 Replies

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Immigration lawyer ain’t going to do anything but take your money

5 hours ago   ·  2
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Again come on! This is no way to live😠

9 hours ago   ·  1
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Thavanh Vongkeo

7 hours ago
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Lean Pil share with your philly friends

6 hours ago
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David Seng

7 hours ago
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What about Stockton???? My brother in law check in march!!!! What should he do???

6 hours ago

2 Replies

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I am an immigration attorney and I was at immigration court today. I represented four individuals, all from Vietnam, all legal permanent residents with old crimes and recent entries to the U.S. I echo the suggestions above. If you have a removal/deportation order, if you have a history of crimes, if you plan on traveling outside of the U.S., speak with an immigration attorney.

2 hours ago
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Devon Lernsdale

3 hours ago

1 Reply

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This is crazy... the group just left and they starting again already😡

8 hours ago
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Do we have information on Massachusetts?

9 hours ago

2 Replies

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Pechta Sok

6 hours ago
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Molly Mall

1 hour ago
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The Cambodian and Viet communities are again targeted by US militarism-police abuse: from being attacked and displaced in the war in Indochina to becoming refugees to living in US ghetto-conditions to jail now to deportation. This is generational torture by imperialism. Like the Central American exodus the US exports war and guns, imports labor via refugees, over polices them and deports people, and so the cycle continues. I am so sad and sick. I take actions at rallies and make donations to express my rage and solidarity but where do I put the sadness.

7 hours ago   ·  7

2 Replies

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Don’t Check it,go somewhere n live off the land, if your gon get deported anyway

5 hours ago
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