Elizabeth Gonzalez

February 1, 2011

The morning of February 1, 2011.

While my sisters and I were getting ready to go to school,

treating this morning like any other. My mother called my sisters and I to the living room.

I began to worry.

My mother then told us “Mijas todo va estar bien ok se los prometo. Quédense calmadas ok, las quiero mucho”.

But those words didn’t help me calm down they made me worry much more.

My mother´s words told us to stay calm but her face said otherwise.

My head was thinking many things at that time. Most of those things were negative.

Did something happen to any family member? Did I do something wrong?

I wasn’t sure what to think about at that moment.

I then saw a very big guy with an FBI suit.

I was very frightened so I held my sister’s hand tight. The big guy in an FBI suit was very serious and quiet.

Next to the big guy I saw my dad in handcuffs.

As soon as I saw him I began to cry.

I felt shocked, sad and very mad to see the way my dad was treated.

I didn’t understand why my dad was being treated that way.

I was very confused.

It wasn’t easy for me to say bye to my dad without being able to hug him and without knowing when I was gonna see him or if I was ever going to see him ever again.

I looked at my mom but she looked away I knew this wasn’t easy for her either but I saw her trying to stay strong for us.

After the FBI took my dad away from me I ran to my mother´s arms and hugged her tight.

I tried to hold my tears back but I wasn’t able to. I didn’t want to let go of my mom.

¨What if they try taking her too?¨

I didn’t feel like eating breakfast or going to school, all I wanted was my family to be together again.

But I guess I was asking for too much.

I tried closing and opening my eyes hoping it was all a bad dream.

Hoping I was just like any other 7 year old girl having nightmares, but the nightmare wouldn’t go away.

That morning was the worst morning I have ever lived, but those five months were even worse.

That was a huge obstacle that my family had to overcome.

We had to work with what we had. It wasn’t easy but it certainly wasn’t impossible to overcome.

All we had left to do was fight on and show those who don’t believe in immigrants that immigrants are worth more than how they are treated and they deserve to be equally treated and respected just like everyone else.

Seven years later and this nightmare has not ended.

It still worries me that any day this might happen again.

And since February 1,2011 I haven’t lived a day in which I worry that I will come home one day and it will not feel like home any more because my family will have been broken apart once again.

Artist Statement

For my modern version of Romeo And Juliet by Shakespeare I decided to write a poem that shows how class privilege/racism, which is one of the topics of Romeo And Juliet, has impacted my life. Class privilege/racism is when a person gets special treatment or advantage or disadvantage at something because of their class/race or amount of money that they have. In this poem I share how as a 7 year old girl I lived one of my worst nightmares. In Romeo And Juliet by Shakespeare, Romeo was able to break the law because he had a lot of money to pay it off with. But my dad had a disadvantage because he did not have the money to pay nor the papers to give the ICE police to let him stay. Also, in Romeo And Juliet by Shakespeare, Romeo was able to just come back in to Verona because he was part of a wealthy family so they would just forget about the crimes he did. This wouldn’t happen with my dad because he does not come from a wealthy family, my dad comes from a low class which is why he has a disadvantage unlike Romeo. Because he was undocumented he was not able to stay in this country with his wife and five daughters. He was treated as a criminal when he was just a diligent working man facing anything that came his way in order to give a better life to his daughters and wife. My poem shows how class privilege/racism has impacted my life negatively. Because of this experience my life has never been the same ever since.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Romeo And Juliet in 2017 by Elizabeth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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