For #LatinxHeritageMonth, ACLU staff members and activists share their stories about their identities and how they are inextricably linked to the work we are doing alongside members of our communities in Maryland.
What Latinidad means to each Latinx person is unique. To some, it means family. To others, it means persecution. But to everyone, it means we're human.
These are stories by and about real people impacted by Trump administration policies, which continue to try to tear apart our communities. We will continue to fight to be together because that is who we are.
Neydin's family escaped a brutal "civil war" in Guatemala. They left everything behind to stay alive and be together. The Sanchez family’s story, challenging ICE's cruel "bait and switch" tactic, deeply impacted Neydin. After the Sanchez’s successful marriage interview at the Baltimore ICE office, Elmer was detained without being allowed to say goodbye to his family. "With the Sanchez family and other families facing hateful rhetoric and these discriminatory policies, I see my own family in them," said Neydin.
Sergio's family's history is as American as any other immigrant's story in the U.S. His mother came to the United States during the Guatemalan civil war, and his dad crossed over the border to be with her in Los Angeles. To Sergio and his brother, "as U.S. citizens, and children, we never thought much of borders. We just knew there were loved ones far away no matter where we lived, but we never felt trapped behind one wall or another." He has seen a lot of progress for immigrants' rights, but also a lot of setbacks, which is why he is grateful for Sanctuary DMV's work supporting incoming immigrants.
For Jay, Latinidad is complicated: "Latinidad feels like being isolated between different worlds." It's a monolith that erases Black and Indigenous people, and silences the experiences of non-white/mestizo people both in the U.S. and abroad. In Maryland, Black and Brown immigrants have been targeted and racially profiled by ICE, including Roxana Santos and Sara Medrano, both victimized by Frederick's 287(g) program that authorizes police to act as ICE agents. To Jay we must all be intentional about unlearning the white supremacy that manifests in every corner of society.