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What It Is To Have Nowhere To Go

Neira Ortega
Mujeres Unidas y Activas

As we walked today, I took time to reflect and I want to emphasize how thankful I am to be able to walk alongside 100 women and feel such compassion and solidarity. We have had the opportunity to share our stories and our visions for the world. I wish for a world where migrants are treated with dignity and respect regardless of race or gender. I am walking for immigrants in the United States, but I also walk in solidarity with migrants in Europe, because I understand what it is to have nowhere to go and to be unable to find work because you do not have the right documentation. I also understand what it is to feel alone and isolated.

I came to the U.S. by myself from Mexico 23 years ago. My first job was as a nanny for a family that paid me $60 dollars per week and did not let me leave the house. Since then, I have also experienced discrimination and abuse in other jobs. When someone doesn’t have legal status, employers take advantage of that vulnerability. At the moment, I am studying psychology, and in class I also sometimes encounter racism. These sentiments of hate have a profound effect on me and my family.

I have two sons who are U.S. citizens, one is 13 years old and the other is 17. When they were little, they always asked me, what will happen to us if you are deported? To be able to speak with other mothers during this pilgrimage who are in my situation, gives me hope that together we will be heard and that alongside the Pope we will create a more compassionate world where children do not have to fear separation from their parents.




MUA - Mujeres Unidas y Activas

MUA is a grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women with a dual mission of personal transformation and community power. Creating an environment of understanding and confidentiality, MUA empowers and educates our members through mutual support and training to be leaders in their own lives and in the community. Working with diverse allies, MUA promotes unity and civic-political participation to achieve social justice.

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