Some 75 people, mostly students, marched through Uptown Thursday protesting newly introduced state legislation that targets immigrants living in the country illegally.
One student, Selene, a 17-year-old junior in Charlotte, told the crowd about learning her immigration status while in middle school.
"When I was six years old my parents decided to come visit my moms’ family in the United States. I was young and excited about the trip. I had never really met all of my family members.
The time spent here was great and when the vacation was coming to an end my parents decided to stay longer because they felt that learning a new language would be a great opportunity for my sisters and me. At that time the immigration laws were not as tough and stringent as they are now. I grew up thinking that the United States was my home, and that everyone around me was my friend.
When I entered middle school I began to realize the situation that I was in. I started hearing all of the negative and racist comments that people were saying about my race. I learned what the true meaning of being undocumented in this country was and how I would be impacted by that.
I’ve always been a good student in school, my parents place a very high value in education, and therefore I try my hardest everyday, so that they can be proud of me. I’m currently in the top 12 percent of my class and my biggest dream is to attend UNC Chapel Hill in order to later become a lawyer and hopefully one day a Supreme Court Justice. It saddens me to see that the country I call home is fighting so hard to get rid of me.
All I want is to give back the community that has sheltered me since such a young age. I want to be able to go to college, so that later I can help those in need, especially my family members. I don’t see why people want to deny me the right to an education. The economy is in a very rough spot right now. Why not let me help restore the community?
All that the Latino youth are asking for is to be partners in order to help rebuild our collective community. I’m ready to start standing up for what I know I deserve. I work hard daily and I think that anyone who wants a chance to improve their future should be given that chance. We will not give up the fight and I will go to college and be the best person I can be!"