My name is Joshua Contreras. I am a DACA recipient, an immigrant, gay, unashamed, and unafraid. I was born and raised in Mexico City. My family and I came to the United States illegally when I was eight years old. A lot of things have happened since. Now, at 22 years old, I am still undocumented and living in this country I call home.
Ever since I came out to my family and friends, I made a promise to myself: A promise to always stay true to myself and be transparent about who I am with the world and people around me. Making an impact means not being afraid to speak your truth and standing up for what you believe in.
Having DACA has opened a lot of doors of opportunity in my life. It has given me the opportunity to continue my education and work towards my bachelor’s degree in communications. It has given me the opportunity to work, and in my job, I work specifically with immigrants.
Today, the Supreme Court of the United State heard oral arguments and stories from DACA recipients. At the moment the future of more than 700,000 people, including myself, who are in the program are at risk and in limbo. Organizations and supporters from across the nation met in Washington, DC to show their support. It was truly empowering being able to share this moment with so many people.
When everyone came out of the court, I got chills. It felt like a historic moment. This was the same court which ruled in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which paved the way for the civil rights movement and integration across the country, and the same court which ruled on Roe v. Wade (1973), which gave women the right to choose what they wish to do with their bodies. Today, our voices were heard. They are the voices of those who remain in the shadows. We are your neighbors, your colleagues, your teachers, your friends. We are somebody. I am somebody.
Another memorable moment was seeing Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi show up at the steps of the court to show her support. We had a brief conversation as she was leaving. I extended my hand and looked at her in the eyes and thanked her for showing. I mentioned to her that I couldn’t imagine the amount of pressure she must feel and the challenges she must face as a woman in politics. She replied, “It is hard, but we must continue standing on the right side of history.”
Many of us DACA recipients are still afraid to say we are DACA recipients. Many feel ashamed to reveal this part of themselves. But we must say it loud and say it clear because this is our fight. If we don’t stand up for ourselves, then nobody else will. I choose courage over comfort and that’s the reason why I showed up today.
To my parents, brothers and fellow immigrants around the world, this is for you — because I believe that we will win and will continue to show up and stand on the right side of history.