It was during a mandatory program I attended during the summer of my junior year that I met Cal State Fullerton Professor of Chicano Studies, Alexandro Jose Gradilla.
Part of his curriculum was to share the history of Latinx/o movements across the century and how it has shaped both the forms of identity-making for our community but also how it has also furthered the liberation and lives of all people of color. It wasn’t until we got to the part about immigrant rights movements, from Prop 187 to the blowouts of 2006 that my ears truly sprang up and where I saw a mirror in my academic journey for the first time.
Growing up, I knew I was an immigrant from Mexico. From hiding when the cops would drive by, to avoiding San Diego or never being able to travel back home to family in Mexico the way my friends were, I knew as I kept getting older that I was different.