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Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment

A Family’s Journey

Dafne Carmona-Rios reflects on the sacrifices her mother made to give her a different life in the United States of America

By Dafne Carmona-Rios

Reflecting on my Journey

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I loved doing a digital story about my journey to America because it was the first time in a long time I reflected on how far I have come. The best part was showing my mom and my sister and watching them getting emotional over it. The three of us set down after watching it and reminisced on all the decisions that lead us to be in the U.S. Afterward, I told her that I appreciate everything that she does for my sister and me and that I would try very hard to take advantage of all the opportunities I was given to make all her sacrifices worth it. In response, she told me that to this day she doesn't regret anything she has done because it has led me to be where I am today. Her response made me realize that my journey is powerful and that I am fortunate to have someone that is willing to sacrifice their future for me to have a better one.

My family has been my central pillar and rock that I rely on to keep moving forward. The digital story was a thank you note for my family, especially my mom who has sacrificed a lot for my family. The digital story made me realize that as an individual, I have changed and grown mentally. I had a very innocent notion of the world before I left Mexico to live in the U.S. I didn't realize how lucky I was to have the lifestyle that I had in Mexico. I took my privileges for granted, and I thought that my life was like everybody else's. It is in the U.S that I realized what true sacrifices and effort are.

Grateful

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I hope that one day I can show the digital stories to my kids and show them that life can be challenging, but also very kind. In a way, the digital story is the legacy that I'm building. I hope that my kids see the effort that my mom made for me to have a better education. To know that my life wasn't always in one place alone, I had to look for success and work hard to get to where I am. Looking back at my first encounter with American life, I remember thinking that I would never fit in or have any common ground with American culture. However, I can say that moving to the United States has been the most rewarding experience.

There are many experiences that I know I wouldn't have had in Mexico. For example, I wouldn't be able to speak well-rounded English fluently. Also, I wouldn't be able to attend a private university for women that gives me opportunities to claim my education. Lastly, I wouldn't have the privilege to experience two different cultures that are so different yet I find myself to be a perfect mixture of both. This has led me to be a fluid-minded individual that sees the world through two different lenses and still finds an incomparable beauty in both. My mom made the best choice by bringing my sister and me to Minnesota, and although it's hard for us to be away from our family back in Mexico. I know that all of my hard work will lead me to a place for success.

My Digital Story

My digital story is a journey that I want to share with others. I want my life to have a purpose. Making a video of my journey has been a great project that has a lot of meaning. Like I said in my video, my journey is not who I am; it's only a part of me. The journey of who I want to be and who I am right now is a long one. Every day I work hard to be better than the person I was yesterday. I hope that people who see my digital story understand that there is a story behind every individual. Immigrant stories are important because they give a sense of the raw reality that every immigrant goes through.

Immigrants have struggles that are hard to understand if you aren't one. An immigrant story portrays the reality of the obstacles and experiences that immigrants face and it individualizes every immigrant's journey. It helps depict the fact that not all immigrants face the same barriers; Therefore, it gives multiple perspectives of the life of an immigrant. In other words, it prevents us from forming a single story, concept, or narrative when thinking of the word immigrant. This is important to understand because immigrant stories convey the resilience and determination that it takes to be an immigrant. Being an immigrant is more than just moving to another country. We all walk on different paths of life, but the journeys that we embark on are not what determines who we are. It is the decisions that we make through that journey that will shape our character and mold us into the people we become.

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