Isabel

I was born in Jalisco, Mexico to a 17 year old man and an 18 year old woman. Both of my parents were poor and my father dropped out of school so that he could financially provide for his family. My mother graduated high school but found few opportunities for employment in the small town in which they lived. My father decided to cross the border illegally and arrived to California in hopes of earning enough money to send some to my mother so that she could purchase basic necessities. My father worked in low wage jobs, lived in underserved communities and sent money to us consistently.

My mother decided that it would be best that we all be together and decided to cross the border with my one year old sister and me (I was four). We lived in a small apartment in Oakland, CA. My father, an alcoholic and abusive man managed to instill the fear of failure in my siblings, mother and me. I succeeded in school, partly due to the pressure and high expectations my father had of me. I studied Business Administration at Cal State East Bay and am currently enrolled at Stanford’s Teacher Education Program to become a Math Teacher.

My family, now consists of 3 younger sisters, one brother and two step siblings. One of my sisters graduated from UC Berkeley and is pursuing a law degree, another sister is studying at UC Davis pursuing a career in medicine, my brother works as an auto technician, and the youngest is attending community college with hopes of transferring to UC Santa Cruz. My mother is happily re-married, and my sisters and I are very close. I thank my parents for bringing us to the US because I know that we would not have had the same opportunities we had here. I am grateful to this country but also love the country that birthed me and gave me an identity.

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