The truth isn’t so easy. I had a choice of going either to school or surviving. I had to help my madrecita put food on the table and raise my brother. But the system doesn’t reward those priorities. Instead, the system made me and my family suffer. It’s deporting my friends, it’s killing families, it’s putting children in cages, and keeping thousands of people in danger across the border. It’s this system that these women on stage are fighting every day.
My mom, sitting right there, the love of my life, that beautiful woman, is a woman who knows how to play both mama and papa. She’s a woman who gave up her dreams, left everything behind in Peru, like so many mothers may be doing at this moment. The story I continue to write is her story, and tonight, I want to give her some hope in writing a new chapter in her life.”
She then called her mother up to the stage and presented her with a gift: an envelope containing her green card. “You’ve been waiting for this for the past 17 years,” she said, “and I’m happy to let you know that you are finally getting it.”
The women then led the audience in a chant: “When immigrant rights are under attack, what do you do? Stand up. Fight back!”
A leader in providing legal services to immigrants in federal detention centers and in the community, RAICES is a resource for asylum-seeking families in a system designed for them to fail. With over 10 million undocumented individuals in the U.S., RAICES helps unaccompanied children, single adults, families, and the LGBTQ community feel welcomed, safe, and protected in their new cities.
With the enactment of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, RAICES’ work is more vital than ever. And after raising $20 million through a Facebook fundraiser amid nationwide uproar over family separations—it’s clear that they’re not slowing down. The majority of RAICES’ employees are female, and women hold most of the leadership positions, so Glamour was honored to welcome the change-makers at the annual awards ceremony.
Find out more about Glamour’s 2019 Women of the Year here.