Em-URGE-ing Voices

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Creating Change: Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

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January 30, 2013

So I’m a big fan of inspirational talks. They get me every single time; you can find me in the back tears coming down my face. Creating Change had a few of these talks this year and I’m going to tell you about my favorite.

Preceded by Leadership in Leather awards…. Jose Antonio Vargas gave a talk about coming out – as an undocumented person living in America. Brought to America at the age of 12 Vargas detailed a story heard time and time again about children growing up in a country to love only to find out that they don’t technically belong. Vargas discovered this when trying to apply for a driver’s license. This led him to an introspective period and he said, “They said I couldn’t be here because I didn’t have the right papers. So I thought maybe I could be here in the paper [with a byline].”

From that point he began to aspire as a journalist and eventually made it to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He wrote a cover piece for the New York Time titled “WE ARE AMERICANS *just not legally” In this article he came out as being undocumented and from then on he has been touring the country talking and providing inspiration for others to do the same.

In the context of social justice I believe that immigration reform and rights of those who may not technically be citizens is widely overlooked. We are always trying to get things done for ourselves and working the system but we so often neglect those who are not a part of that system. I believe that our current administration has good intentions about making some changes in this area, but it is also up to us to bring these personal stories to the forefront and make others see what it is like to not belong – feeling we all know pretty well.

If you’re interested, here is a video of the talk:


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