[This week’s DREAM Act guest post comes from Diana, a DREAM-eligible future entrepreneur in Georgia who refuses to let fear rule her life. Visit Dreamactivist.org to find out how you can help pass the DREAM Act.]
I am about to turn 27, I have lived here for 18 years, but time is running out quick for me. Though I have not had the privilege of finishing college because of my immigration status, I have pushed forward and tried to learn as much as I could and can from the people around me who were and are willing to teach me, and I continue to try to contribute to the society and community around me.
For a long time I was afraid of doing many things for fear of being deported, but I have finally taken this to heart “a life lived in fear is a life unlived”. I refuse to give in and cheat the system by marrying in order to obtain legal status, but I also refuse to continue to hold myself back and so God willing I will soon fulfill my dream of opening my own business. This is the best way I can think of to honor and contribute to this wonderful country that I consider my own, because regardless of what a piece of paper says, I have always believed that it is what you feel that matters most. I hold no grudges, for I have had opportunities here that I would have never had in my birth country.
My only and dearest wish is that I am allowed to continue to show even more how truly thankful I am for those opportunities. To anyone who may read this and who find themselves in the same situation: Don’t let fear stop you, life must go on always, even in the face of incredible injustice. The best way to show that you deserve to be an “official” U.S. Citizen (because in our hearts, or at least in mine, I have always been), is to live your life as best you can, take every opportunity that comes your way to fulfill your dreams, and don’t let fear stop you and hold yourself back from giving the best you have to offer.
I have wasted many years, but not one more day, not one more minute will I give to fear. Even if the worst happens, I will always continue to strive to better myself, to learn as much as I can about as much as I can, and in this country or in another I will always do my best to contribute and make the city, town or country where I live the best that it can be.
Also, no matter where I end up, I will always be thankful to this country because this is where I learned that with hard work, dedication and steadfastness, you really can achieve anything you want. It is because I have lived here that I now know that if I can achieve one of my most challenging dreams without having a college diploma and facing all these legal barriers, the limits of what I could accomplish with the former and not the latter do not exist.
(Photo courtesy DreamAct2009)