A Family’s Encounter: Creating Fear in America, A Continued Saga

in The Word is Text by

by Maria Concepcion Toledo

An on going fear is running throughout the Latino and other immigrant communities.

Recently, many immigrants fear going to work, going to buy groceries and even fear to take a stroll in their neighborhood with their families. These immigration raids have caused panic, and for my mother it was nothing different.

In March, my family had one of the biggest scares that we have ever had. Having an immigrant single mother, my brothers and I grew up with fear that if my mom was taken away, we would be left alone without any family,

Just like her typical morning routine, my mom was headed out to work and like every other morning, she stopped by to buy a morning coffee and a piece of bread.

But that morning, she had her first ever encounter with ICE. This terrifying encounter occurred on Vermont and Santa Monica, not far from the LACC campus. She expressed this experience as the most frightening thing she has ever gone through. She was sitting in a back corner of the shop when the rush of ICE members made her panic. She froze and the only thing she could think of was her child. She said that within the few seconds ice raided the location.  She saw the owner signal to her to immediately leave and, she did. With worry, she rushed out and walked to her job which was just around the corner. In tears, she made the dreaded call and told me what happened. I immediately left school and went to pick her up. Since the incident, my mom lives in terror that she might one day not be with us.

Our family was torn to pieces thinking that within a blink of an eye my mom wouldn’t be with us. And although all immigrant families lives with this while growing up this was so realistic, once an encounter like that happens it takes a toll. It took a toll not only on my mother but also my brothers. This not only was seen with in the Latino community but more recently there was also an encounter with 7-11 chains. Although not specified by the Trump administration many can argue that this targeted the Muslim communities. This was sent as a “warning” for all business owners from the trump administration but since then there has not been another big chain company that has gotten raided throughout the entire United States. It’s a fear of terror that unfortunately many of us face but we take it day by day hoping that tomorrow wont be the day we have to say goodbye.

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 George Sanchez, MA Carlos R. Guerrero, Ph.D., 1992-2021