August 20, 2012
Trini Garcia has been living in Alabama for 15 years, she is part of the organization Somos Tuskaloosa. She is one of the people who came out of the shadows and talked about her story publicly at the rally on August 20, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This is her story.
We are tired and we have lost fear. It has taken me years to lose it though because it is a fear that paralyzes you. I clearly remember the moment when I heard that HB 56 was going to be implemented about a year ago. It was a moment of panic, a difficult moment. We were not going to be able to get car plates, transactions with the state. Nothing.
The tornados in 2011 and the change in the law came at the same time. They both impacted our community, they both caused fear, they both separated families, they both affected the stability of our children in school. The tornado and the law caused our community to have nightmares and traumas, some visible and some invisible.
People began to leave around us. My brother and my sister in law left the state, and they would ask me why I was staying. My children were being asked at school the same things, and they would watch the news and hear about the situation of undocumented immigrants. My son even asked me, “Mom, am I undocumented?” At that time Christmas was getting near, my son’s birthday too, and they were also wondering where we would be spending the holidays, and it would break my heart.
As a family, we always talk about everything, and so one day we sat around the table and talked about it. My husband and I gave our children options: We have family in California and Nevada. But they said, “No mom, my family is here, my friends are here, and our football team.” I asked around, “Do you want to go?” and each time the answer was “No. Until they kick us out.” We decided that we would stay, we would take precautions but we would stay, because this is our home.
So we decided to stay, and I though, if we stay, we are going to do something. We can’t stay here with our hands crossed. We have to try to succeed, and to me success is the success of my children, so I fight for them. And as long as we are here, we will fight for our future, our dignity, and the making of a Tuscaloosa where we all have rights.
I started to look for ways to tell my story. I wrote down my thoughts and gave them to a local organization that was forming. But then they called me and told me there would be a three day training to learn how to organize. I told my family about it, and they supported my involvement.
Although I have always defended myself, I don’t like talking about myself or my family’s problems in public. But I also don’t like to remain quiet. I cannot stay quiet when I see that our rights are being stepped on. Those in the legislature need to know that they are not dealing with numbers, but with people and families. Our own community needs to organize, and learn about their rights, and learn to lose fear. That is why I’m telling my story today.