My name is Hans, and I’m a Filipino American DACA recipient. When I first connected with Immigrants Rising (back when it was called Educators for Fair Consideration), I was still in high school and just beginning to navigate the complexities of being undocumented. I struggled a lot after learning that I was undocumented, but thankfully, the people around me knew to point me to Immigrants Rising.
I could have simply left Immigrants Rising after getting my questions answered all those years ago, but as I got to know the organization better, I realized the people who made it all possible were undocumented like me and pouring their heart and soul into the work. I got to connect with other undocumented API folks, and was able to build an inclusive community that brought me a sense of belonging.
Immigrants Rising has been—and still is—there for me on my journey of growth. At the height of escalated anti-Asian violence, the UndocuAPI wellness support group was there for me; I learned how to code switch between my life personally and life in corporate America, and connecting with other UndocuAPI folks helped my mental health in ways I did not know I needed.
During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month earlier this year, I served on Immigrants Rising’s host committee to uplift and celebrate other UndocuAPI folks. I performed my spoken word titled “Just Won’t Do”, which highlights aspects of my upbringing and calls for unification in uplifting the immigrant community. It has since transformed into the first purpose project of my nonprofit Help Out More, with the goal of raising funds for Immigrants Rising in their work to support the undocumented community.
Seeing our community come together in joy rather than struggle filled me with an overwhelming sense of fulfillment, and I now know this is the type of impact I want to create in this world.
My time with Immigrants Rising has taught me equitable opportunities start with people like you and me. I’m paying it forward so that down the line undocumented young people have even more opportunities created by people who understand their trials and tribulations.