History is not always history.
See these people in this picture? My father would likely be very upset that this is posted here but, hear me out.
Pictured in this picture is my family.
They are my father's family.
This is my history.
This is a history that is currently under fire.
The picture above is of Frank and Lupe Vargas- my great grandparents.
My great grandparents are here because of something they did that today is currently under fire. They crossed the border to the states illegally. They did so for a better life for our family.
Today there is talk about dissolving the Dreamers project. It is something put into place to protect those whom were innocent. It is something that a decade ago I might have been potentially against on a legal level...
It is now something where it gives me pause.
My great grandparents Francisco and Lupe Vargas crossed through in El Paso when there was a dreadful thing happening. My father doesn't talk about. He probably has his reasons. History will explain a bit more as to why. Having learned the history, I understand more. Having learned the history and having learned the dreadful things my great grandparents and ancestors and peers were subjected to...
But that's the thing about some parts of history. Some of it isn't talked about. Perhaps this might be a good time to start.
How many of you know about the Bath Riots? The Bath Riots prefaced the Holocaust. The Bath Riots used the same chemical used in the Holocaust... right here on American soil... on my ancestors.
An excerpt from an article posted on NPR over a decade ago talks about these atrocities:
"For decades, U.S. health authorities used noxious, often toxic chemicals to delouse Mexicans seeking to cross the border into the United States."
I think about when I learned about this event a few years back.
About how frozen my father was when I mentioned that I knew.
"How did you know about that?"
About how he became silent immediately after.
It was as if he wanted to un-hear it.
But that's not how history works sadly.
We can't un-hear the past even if it hurts.
My father didn't refuse to acknowledge what happened. He chose to not talk about it. Another member of our family would talk to me about it. We would discuss how when my/our mutual great grandparents crossed, that they were very likely subjected to it.
We discussed more about our history and our grandparents. About how in this picture my grandparents were not present at my great uncle's wedding because they were going to give birth to my father.
It's 2017 now.
The legacy that the Vargas family created was fortunate for its time at the same time as it was not fortunate. While todays families are not necessarily deloused at the borders by Americans, the fight is still very much alive and well against assistance for those that dare dream of a better future in America.
America was founded and built on the blood and dreams of these generations of immigrants. These immigrants are people with history. These immigrants have contributed their dreams as a commitment to their families.
Today there is discussion on ending the DACA program... a program which is rooted in making America into a land where the law will come down on those who do things illegally.
I think about how thankful I am for my grandparents.
I think about how when I lived in San Diego a decade ago, unknowing to the past of my ancestors, how I held a sense of contempt and frustration for those that just simply refused to go through the process legally.
I think again about my grandparents.
I think about my grandmother Lupe whom was a humble blanket maker.
I think about how unfortunately there aren't that many records available of my great grandfather. Of how the records that do exist have gaps in them sadly.
I think about the joy my family and cousin have been filled with finding out about our history.
I think about how that history could all have possibly never happened and/or been at even greater risk in todays hunting of the Mexican generations.
I am the great grandchild of an illegal immigrant family.
Please do not punish me or my family nor the families of many of the thousands of others for the dreams and love our ancestors did for our families. The labors that they have bestowed upon this country have been plentiful. These and our families have been through enough. We do not deserve to be punished.
Let me tell you a bit more about the legacy currently here due to Lupe and Francisco Vargas. About the voices you're telling thanks but no thanks to.
Members of our family have contributed towards the military forces of the United States via their children including my great uncle Lucious (son of Lupe and Francisco) and several of their nephews including Mickey and many more. Some of those family members are buried in honor in US cemeteries honoring their duty and lost lives for this country, the country that wants to honor their hard efforts by telling the world that the Dreams our grandparents pursued through disgusting and terrible deeds bestowed upon them directly via the United States in the Bath Riots were for naught.
Members of our family have contributed towards the art world- via their children Anita and Marie Vargas (my grandmother and dear aunt whom are both deceased) in traditional painting and life lesson forms, my cousin Kevin (grandchild of Lupe and Francisco) in the musical realm, and me, this humble artist and writer. Members of our family have contributed towards assisting and serving others via mechanics from various uncles like my uncle Jay (grandchild of Lupe and Francisco), and my sister Jessica Thomas (deceased great grandchild of Lupe and Francisco) with her efforts working with the Girl Scouts of America.
Members of our family are contributing to the corporate world via my father Guy (grandson of Lupe and Francisco) and sometimes even this writer (great grandchild of Lupe and Francisco) on occasion.
Members of our family are contributing to the education of this generation's knowledge of history... including my brother John (great grandchild of Lupe and Francisco) whom teaches this very subject to students in Indiana.
These are just a few of our stories. The stories are many for our family as well as the thousands of others of families at risk with your destruction of the legislature put in place to protect those of us whom are innocent.
We are the product of an illegal immigrant family. We are the things that have been created by dreamers. We have contributed great things to this country. We will continue to do so.
For our family.
For the many others like ours.
We humbly request you to consider our stories of triumph and sacrifice and gratitude.
Please do not punish the innocent here.
Please do not take any more dignity away from our legacy than it already has.
From one whom was not educated enough to understand to another, please hear our and the collective communities potentially soon to be affected's plea.
Jennifer Stavros, great grandchild of an illegal immigrant legacy
PS- If you'd like some issues to pay attention to perhaps you could look locally into some other areas that are actually taking things they shouldn't and getting resources and incentives from things they shouldn't be in order to rip apart families needlessly without any actual cause... rather than diverting focus on something as ridiculous as ripping apart even more families needlessly who didn't do anything wrong either...