Despite Major Family Set Back, Hope Continued

in The Word is Text by

by Lorraine De La Torre

When immigrants come to the United States, they seek to succeed, they want better living conditions, but they do not just want it for themselves but for their families too. They sacrifice leaving everything knowing that they will not be able to return for a long time or ever.

I interviewed a young 23 year old woman named Cindy Jimenez. She is a  old first generation Mexican-American daughter of immigrant parents. Like other immigrants stories, Cindy’s immigrant story demonstrate the perils of the current violence in Mexico and our current political predicament.

In 2011,  as a senior year in high school, Cindy’s grandmother in Guanajuato, Mexico passed away. Her father had not seen his mother for 13 years, so he made the decision to go back to Guanajuato, Mexico to see his mother one last time. Although his family and friends tried to convince not to go, he bought a one way ticket to Guanajuato.

Once the funeral ended, he spent time seeking a trust-worthy “Coyote.” Time passed so quickly that he ended up missing Cindy’s high school graduation. He found a coyote that he thought would bring him home safe.

Cindy’s father made his way up from Guanajuato to Tijuana where he was going to meet the Coyote. He saw the truck and the Border which was not too far. Once in the truck, it was dark and others were joining Cindy’s father to return “al otro lady.”

However, Cindy’s father sensed something was wrong. He felt the truck take many turns, and they kept on driving and driving. He didn’t think he would be in that truck for too long. Once the truck stopped, he saw that many men were opening the doors of the truck. They were policemen with masks and guns in their hands yelling at everyone to get out. Shortly after, Cindy’s father knew he was being kidnapped.

Cindy’s family received a call demanding that they $8,000 or they would never see their dad again. The family became distraught, scared, and stressed, but Cindy took action. She knew that she needed to do something for her family and so, she did. Instead of attending her first first year of college,she began to work to raise the ransom. She worked 10 hour shifts 7 days out the week. She not only needed to raise money for her dad but she also needed to support her mom, sister and brother and the mortgage. She did this until they were able to raise the $8,000 to bring her father back home. Fortunately, after about 5 months, the family raised the $8,000, and Cindy’s dad returned home safe and sound.

Although she missed her first year in college, she decided to catch up to graduate on time. She attended L.A. Mission College, L.A.Valley College, and East L.A. college for her first year back in school. She took up to 17 units each semester to get caught up. On top of that she also had a full-time job. After two years, she transferred to Cal State L.A. and graduated in the summer of 2016 with high honors. In the Fall of 2017, she will be attending Salus University College of Audiology to earn her Doctor of Audiology.

I asked Cindy how she was able to do all of this, and she answered “I don’t know, I just did it.” Although, this might seem like a plain answer, there’s so much underlying strength, motivation, and will in it. Cindy did it and she’s still doing it. She is the true definition of the American Dream and she’s not letting anything stop her from accomplishing her goals.  

The El Popo Newspaper was first published in 1970 by students concerned about the lack of a Chicana and Chicano perspective in newspapers. As a result, students called the newspaper, El Popo. The paper was named El Popo after the volcano El Popocatepetl. Involved in Chicana/o Movement of the 60’s and 70’s, students saw a connection between the smoke spewing volcano ready to erupt and the student movement ready to engage. Thus, throughout the El Popo’s forty-six years, the name continues to symbolize and to represent the spirit of each generation of students that contribute to the pages of the El Popo Newspaper. Faculty Advisor/Publisher Carlos R. Guerrero, Ph.D.