By Alexandre Lagunas
At 19 years old, I'm thankful for a childhood that allowed me to dream big. I'm majoring in Art at Cal State University Northridge with the goal of becoming a cartoonist. Besides drawing, I enjoy making models of military vehicles and going to museums to study artifacts from the past.
My 13-year-old sister Lydia dreams of becoming an actor or musician.
You know who made all these possibilities possible? Our hard-working mother Veronica Lagunas, a tax-paying janitor in Sylmar, CA who moved to the US over 20 years ago from El Salvador after two devastating earthquakes.
A union member with SEIU-United Service Workers West for over 17 years, she co-founded the Ya Basta! Coalition, an effort to advance the workplace safety and dignity of women and other workers vulnerable to experiencing sexual violence and harassment in the janitorial industry. She’s known as a “Promotora” who trains other janitors and supervisors to identify and stop harassment, assault, and rape—as well as deal with barriers to reporting crimes when they do occur.
I thank God for my amazing and sweet mom. She means everything to me. Call me a "momma's boy," haha, I don't care.
In Washington, DC this past summer, Lydia and I stuck our necks out (like our mom does routinely) and told our stories (watch Lydia's video clip and mine), asking the Biden Administration to designate TPS for all countries that qualify like Guatemala and to redesignate TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Nepal. I know there are many U.S. citizen children (and grandchildren) who relentlessly face family separation since their parents' home countries don't have TPS designations.
They live in fear, unable to dream big.
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