Below is the speech given at the labor caucus at the Democratic National Convention by Olivia Vazquez from Juntos.
My name is Olivia Vazquez. I’m here as an undocumented immigrant and a youth organizer at Juntos. Even though I’m here to talk to you as a DACA recipient, I am also here to talk to you as someone from a family of workers and I want you to see me as that.
My mother has worked in restaurants for 15 years.
My uncle is a construction worker but has never been in a union because he’s been afraid and doesn’t know how to connect to them.
Posted by Juntos on Wednesday, July 27, 2016
And I organize with families who are forced to work in detention centers for just a dollar a day.
There’s a saying in Spanish that when we stand apart, they can defeat us. So in order to win our battles, we need to stand together.
No movement can be strong if it’s missing a piece of the puzzle and it is often undocumented immigrants and poor Latinos who are that missing piece.
I’ve always knew that I was undocumented, but I never truly understood the significance of the word until I was in 12th grade.
I wanted to go to college and fulfill the dream that my mom visualized for me.
So for the first time, I openly admitted that I was undocumented. I went to a counselor. But she wasn’t able to help me.
I continue organizing because I know that I wasn’t the only youth struggling.
When our schools are underfunded, teachers don’t just lose their jobs. Youth get criminalized and sent to jail.
Our schools close and then investors reopen them to gentrify. And we get pushed out of our neighborhoods. Our children worry everyday.
They are fearful that their parents may not make it back home,
because they could get stopped by a cop and be killed or turned over to ICE to be deported.
The labor movement is often our shield and we need you to be a strong one for all the ways we fight.
As immigrants and as workers.
We cannot wait until Clinton takes her place in office. .
We need proof RIGHT NOW that Hillary stands on the side of immigrants.
That means all of us together calling for moratorium on deportation and to shut down all detention centers.
Unions are created to protect each other. And today, we need each other now more than ever.