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I was born and raised in Wickenburg, AZ, a small town in northwest Maricopa County. I now live in Phoenix, AZ. My family came to this country almost thirty years ago from a rural community in Jalisco, Mexico. I was the first in my immediate family to be born the United States. My father, mother, sister, and brother came to this country as undocumented immigrants. My brother became was the first to naturalize. My sister naturalized after serving in Kuwait and my parents naturalized after 20 years of residency.
I moved to the Valley in 2000 and since then I have been working with underserved communities in South Scottsdale, Tempe, South and West Phoenix. This work has been a combination of volunteering, working in government, as well as, non goverment organizations, and political activism. The communities I have worked with with range from indeginous to second/third generation populations. During these times I have been able to observe how individuals develop a sense of community, how new arrivals are incorporated into communities, and the tension that can occur during this process.
In terms of being an activist I have been engaged in mobilizing communities in fighting legislation geared at immigrants in Arizona. This began when working towards keeping bilingual education in Arizona schools. Continued into fighting Prop 300 and for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Although work continues towards CIR, SB1070 has caused us to focus more attention on what is going on in our own State. This has shown in great part how local chaos can arise when a problem on a larger scale has not been addressed (ie. a revamping of the immigration system).
I attempt to balance my efforts towards community change with dealing with issues that communities face at local levels while being engaged in the political system. On one hand we can work with communities in facing the issues they we deal with in the day to day. On the other we fight or push legislation which can have an ove