We live our lives in hiding
But why? I’m not so sure
We live our lives in fear
Of someone walking through the door
To take us far away
Far away from home
They’d leave us poor and stranded
In a country not our own
Jade Alvarez '23 (BHSEC Queens)
La vida que no quiero,
La vida que da la esperanza
Perdido en la vida que no es para mi.
¿Qué voy a hacer?
Yo soy de que el gobierno tiene miedo,
“Un ataque en pureza racial”
Pero lo que no saben es que somos la gente detrás de la escena.
Nunca conseguir el sueño americano,
No es lo que queremos
Este país no fue construido para nosotros.
Nosotros somos las personas que nos están matando , para mejorar la vida.
Nosotros somos las personas que trabajamos sin reconocimiento.
Nosotros somos las personas que el gobierno pasa por alto.
Pero nosotros somos las personas que son el futuro de los Estados Unidos
Nosotros somos las personas que trabajan para nuestros futuros.
Porque nosotros no tenemos miedo,
Los Estados Unidos es un país construida sobre inmigrantes.
Dicen que son mejores que nosotros.
Pero nosotros somos mejores;
Más trabajo duro.
Y tener más almas hermosas que todos nuestros enemigos.
No nos echamos atrás sin luchar.
Una lucha por nuestro futuro.
Una lucha por nuestra libertad.
Una lucha por nuestros derechos.
Nadie es ilegal o invalido.
Publius '22 (BHSEC Queens)
One big disadvantage of being an immigrant in an unfamiliar place is feeling like a foreigner. The concept of otherness brings me strange memories and stories from my family’s past. I wonder most days what it means to be American and whether or not I should feel ashamed of that part of my identity. I consider myself a mix of so many backgrounds and identities that it’s quite blurry by now. I have the European and Jewish essence from my ancestors that brings me my favorite traditions and cultural love. I’m so tightly tethered to my family in Israel, where I feel the meditteranean joy and Middle-Eastern spice that I miss when I’m away. I have a love for Mexican culture brought into my life by one of the many people who raised me and I feel at home speaking Spanish. I’m so other in my essence, but I think that that’s what it means to be American. So do I truly belong here? Maybe a massive advantage of being an immigrant or descended from immigrants is that you have the privilege of belonging to many places and groups.
The feeling fluctuates. Everywhere I go I seem to find conflict that changes the way I think and process my identity. It hurts me to stay in Israel for months and see the corruption and pain that the government continues to cause, but the people and the spirit there bring me euphoria every time I visit. I’m foreign in Israel because I live here. I’m foreign here because my family’s from Israel. I can only imagine the struggle of uprooting oneself and taking a journey to a new place where everything is different. I understand what it feels like living far away from the people you love. I guess that my immigrant voice comes from a mix of ideas, not unlike my mix of identities. I get my voice from those who came before me and continue to better my life today. I feel a medley of sympathy, empathy and compassion. Maybe it’s possible that the mixture that I am makes me American. In that case, we all can be.
Anonymous '23 (BHSEC Queens)
It’s the small comments that’ll get to you
Start to claw underneath your skin, burning you from the inside out
They’ll bounce around in your head, sounding your alarms.
It’s when you start changing who you are
To fit the confining box of standards you’ve been restricted to
Start to enjoy the prison; enjoy the box.
It’s when you’re forced to find a balance
Between the home you love and the house you live in
Because you’ve always had a house, but never been home.
It’s when you’ve fooled yourself into believing that you are home
Even if you get stared at when you walk through her streets
Even if you are a citizen, but don’t feel like one
Even if you feel like you don’t belong
It’s then that you should know,
New York isn’t home.
Basmalla Hussein '21 (BHSEC Queens)
Many people choose to immigrate to the United States because of economic opportunities, freedom of expression, and because of various awful conditions in their native countries. However, the reality is often far from expected. When immigrants come to the U.S., they look for economic opportunities. But jobs are pretty scarce, and many places will refuse to hire them merely because they are immigrants. They come for freedom. But when undocumented immigrants arrive in the US, they must then live their lives in fear of immigration authorities coming to deport them. A life of hiding is NOT freedom. When they come to the US, they expect more than what they are escaping. They separate from their families, and leave their loved ones for better opportunities. But is struggling to get a job, hiding all of your life, and leaving your family really “opportunity”?
Jade Alvarez '22 (BHSEC Queens)
Nueva York era una ciudad de inmigrantes
Era un lugar seguro para las personas que querían una vida mejor
Pero ahora este país muy hostil
Nosotros necesitamos trabajar para un ciudad más seguro
Rie '22 (BHSEC Queens)
From the moment the Eurpoenas traveled across the seas to reach North America, it has been developed and formed into a Nation of immigrants, with the original inhabitants of the land, Native Americans, being brought to near genocide and discarded. The promises of America, for centuries, have drawn people from far and wide, seeking refuge and having hope of a better life. However, over the years a large majority of American citizens have turned hostile towards those who come to America for the same reasons their ancestors did, and even though America may be a nation of immigrants, they refuse to offer the same chances their family was given. The hostile opinions held, even by the President of the United States, have led to the inhumane and discriminatory treatment towards immigrants regardless of age. Presedient Trump issued Executive Order 13768, which has made being an undocumented immigrant in this country exponentially harder. New York has been considered through a large part of U.S. history as “a sanctuary city”, but becuase of this order arrests of undocumented immigrants for non-criminal convictions have increased by approximately 150% since the excecutive order. Thus, many more undocumenteed immigrants are at risk of being put through the deportation system, an unjust system that rarely follows the requirements of due process. There are currently about 2,500 undocumented immigrants facing deportation in NYC, and its impoprtant to recognize the injustices of this system and fight it to give undocumented immigrants the best protection possible. Organizations such as the New Sanctuary Coalition are one of the many social activism groups working to help immigrants within NYC. They’re a group formed in 2007 to combat the inhumane system of deportations. The group offers safe spaces for immigrants all across the city, and provides a support system for immigrants facing deportation. Although the organization is run by a small group of people, they have over 500 citizen volunteers to combat issues on immigration by working personally with people struggling within the system while also fighting issues and advocating on a larger scale. One of the current causes being fought for regarding immigration is for the SCAR bill in NYC, which would allow for greater protection of children who have been separated from their families. Therefore, since many people within this country may be fighting againt and dehumanizing undocumented immigrants, its importatnt that if you believe in this casue to seek out activism groups to be able to offer your support to those having to face the unjust systems, through organizations such as The New Sanctuary Coalition.
Amelie Rie '22 (BHSEC Queens)
As an immigrant, I have had many personal experiences associated with discrimination. My family and I came to this country in 2009, when I was just 5 years old and my sister was 3. However, my parents were both 37 years old. I think about that a lot because by the age of 37 your home has already been established and it’s much harder to learn a language when your brain is already fully developed. I came here when I was very young, so my home has become New York, and I grew up as a New Yorker, but I often forget that my parents had to leave their home, the place they loved most in the whole world, they had to leave all of their friends and family to give my sister and I a better future. I don’t remember my journey to America exactly, I remember being in my country one day and waking up in America the next day. My family and I did not have a dollar to our name, we could not afford to live anywhere, however we were lucky enough to already have family in America and we stayed with them before we could afford to get our own place. My dad could not manage to find a job for a very long time and my mother just recently told me some of the jobs she had to work to get as much money as possible. Immigrants don’t take Americans jobs, in my opinion, immigrants are just more willing to work jobs with very low wages because they must take every opportunity they have to earn money for their families. We finally had enough money to afford a small apartment in Queens, however, due to financial issues my parents had to send my sister and I back to my country for a few months. I don’t remember this but my mom told me that was the first time she ever saw my dad cry. After some hard work, my parents amazingly could afford for all of us to live in Queens. School started out and I had a hard time adjusting to the language, for a little while I was bullied for not being able to speak English properly, however, my ESL classes and my parents who couldn’t even speak English themselves helped me, and now I am completely fluent in English. My parents both have great jobs that they both earned with hard work and dedication, and they are pretty good at English as well even though they struggle a bit with grammar.
Immigrants make America, America. The whole country is built on immigration, and founded on immigrants. So many immigrants have accomplished so many amazing things in this country. Immigrant or not, undocumented or documented everyone is a human being and has human rights, so we should all be treated as so. So many immigrants today have to live and work in fear because of their status. No person should live their everyday life in fear. No human being is “illegal”. Immigrants are so strong and everything they do is for their families and for a better life, so I believe they deserve more respect and way less discrimination.
Anonymous '22 (BHSEC Queens)
Ten eyes watch us as we go down the steps of the subway,
and one mouth opens and closes in order to pray.
“May God bless you,
and prevent you from facing any hardships that we are going through.”
The mother who says this prayer looks so thin and pale,
and holds in her arms a baby that does nothing but wail.
Her graying hair is tied back in a messy knot,
and the scarf wrapped around her head has a big yellow spot.
She has a daughter and a son,
and a baby who looks no older than one.
The daughter, who hid behind her mother,
has eyes like no other.
They are so big and are the lightest shade of the green,
just like her father’s, who looks as fragile as a string bean.
The son, who sat on his father’s right,
has hair that iss darker than the sky at midnight.
His hair has grown past his ears,
as if he hasn’t cut it in years.
We did not have any change to spare,
so we spotted the croissants in our hands and decided we didn’t mind to share.
The children accepted them happily,
and their parents’ eyes sheened with tears of glee.
However, what happened next took us by surprise,
and even brought tears to our eyes.
The mother quickly jumped up to my mother and tried to kiss her,
But the moment right after went by in a blur.
The mother tried to kiss her hands,
and the reason why she did it is something that my mother clearly understands.
My mother stopped her because that action implied that she was a god.
Since she could never live up to His greatness, not stopping the woman would have been flawed.
Instead, my mother planted a kiss on her head,
right on top of her scarf that could no longer be considered red.
She then exchanges a prayer of her own,
letting each word come out with such a gentle tone.
“May you and your family live a better life, if God wills it.”
and I really hope they do because they don’t deserve this, not one bit.
As we walked away,
I took a moment to let my mind wander astray...
It’s those who have money who live and travel,
and those who don’t spend their days in the gravel.
It’s those who have a home who feel safe and warm,
and those who don’t live in fear in every shape and form.
It’s those who have money who are happy to start a family,
and those who don’t dread the idea because of their lack of stability.
It’s those who have money who are thankful for living at ease in every way,
and those who don’t are thankful that they have lived another day.
One should be forever thankful for the clothes that they are wearing,
and their favorite bike that still needs repairing.
One should be thankful for their education,
and the fact that they get to have a lovely vacation.
One should be thankful for the bed that they sleep on,
and their colored pencils that their cousin bought from Amazon.
One should be thankful for the books that they get to read,
and for their parents who always encourage them to succeed.
If things aren’t the way they are,
then I bet that family could have afforded their very own car,
which the father would have used to drive his daughter to school,
while the baby and the mother would spend their afternoon in their backyard kiddie pool.
The son would be playing soccer in the nearby park,
and would be chased by his dog that would constantly bark.
But the only way for them to leave that station,
solely depends on the people’s doantions.
It’s easy to be blinded by money,
and believe that everything is bright and sunny.
The place that the poor Romanian family calls home,
is the subway station right in the center of Rome,
where people would travel to the Pantheon or the Colosseum,
but wouldn’t take a second to look at people like this family and spare them a crumb.
Right before I entered the train,
I looked back at the family sitting next to the sewage drain.
Eight eyes watched as people passed by,
and one little girl waved to me goodbye.
Sarah Amaoui '20 (BHSEC Queens)
Updates Every Sunday