Reporte de CDC se Enfoca en la Gravedad de Infecciones con Resistencia a los Antibióticos

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Más de 2 millones de personas en Estados Unidos padecen cada año de infecciones que son resistentes a los antibióticos y al menos 23.000 mueren a causa de estas, de acuerdo con un reporte de los Centros de Control y Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) divulgado el lunes.

El informe, titulado “Amenazas de la resistencia a los Antibióticos en Estados Unidos 2013”, es el primero en establecer la calificación del nivel de riesgo como preocupante, serio o urgente.

“La resistencia a los antibióticos está aumentando por muchos patógenos que son una amenaza para la salud. Si no actuamos ahora, nuestro botiquín de medicinas estará vacío y no tendremos los antibióticos que necesitamos para salvar vidas”, declaró el director de los CDC, Tom Frieden, tras dar a conocer los datos.

El reporte encontró que la C. difficile, una seria infección que provoca diarrea asociada usualmente al uso de antibióticos, causa cerca de 250.000 hospitalizaciones y 14.000 muertes cada año.

El informe cita además el riesgo de complicaciones que pueden surgir de procedimientos como trasplantes de órganos cuyo éxito depende en gran medida de la posibilidad de tratar posibles infecciones tras la operación con antibióticos.

De acuerdo con las autoridades sanitarias, el uso inapropiado de antibióticos de forma generalizada y en exceso ha generado bacterias resistentes a este tipo de medicamentos y es considerada una de las amenazas de salud pública más serias a nivel mundial.

Asimismo, la investigación señala la necesidad de prestar atención al uso de antibióticos en animales como mecanismo de prevención y control de enfermedades.

Por ello, los CDC recomiendan evitar el uso de antibióticos para combatir infecciones virales, como resfriados o la mayoría de los dolores de garganta.

La resistencia a los antibióticos también es una pesada carga económica para el sistema de atención médica, que de acuerdo con estimados citados en el informe, genera cerca de 20.000 millones de dólares en costos directos.

Hijo Mayor de César Chávez con Algunas Reservas, da su Bendición a la Película Sobre su Padre

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Fernando Chávez, el hijo mayor del fallecido líder sindicalista César Chávez, dijo el 16 de septiembre a Efe que la película que ha rodado el mexicano Diego Luna acerca de la figura de su padre cuenta con su bendición, aunque es consciente de que incluirá cosas con las que no está totalmente de acuerdo.

“Sé que la han terminado. Contaron con nuestra familia para que la revisáramos y nos pidieron consejo en determinadas situaciones, pero es difícil porque no podía ser un proyecto sobre toda su carrera, que son muchos años”, comentó Chávez, abogado especializado en inmigración.

“La cinta se centra en su persona y su vida personal, en quién era realmente. Va ser muy interesante para que el pueblo latino sepa más de él. César Chávez fue uno de los latinos más influyentes del país en los últimos 50 años”, manifestó acerca de su propio padre, símbolo de la lucha por los derechos de los trabajadores del campo en California.

“Chávez”, un filme muy esperado por la comunidad latina, está protagonizado por Michael Peña (“End of Watch”), que encarna a César Chávez; Rosario Dawson (“Sin City”), que interpreta a la activista Dolores Huerta, y America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”), que da vida a la esposa del protagonista, Helen.

“Siempre tienes dudas con un proyecto así, pero hemos pasado bastante tiempo con Diego y su equipo. Sé que no voy a estar 100 por cien satisfecho con lo que van a sacar, pero va a ser una buena película”, indicó Chávez, quien señaló que Peña, cuyos padres eran campesinos, estaba “muy emocionado” con el papel.

“Su papá le dijo que, aunque había hecho otras películas, finalmente había llegado a Hollywood gracias a ese personaje”, sostuvo entre risas Chávez, que ya ha visto algunas partes de la cinta y cree que podría llegar a las salas el próximo verano.

Chávez acudió a la inauguración de un mural con la imagen de su padre en la escuela César Chávez Elementary, un tributo que llega pocos meses después del 20 aniversario de su fallecimiento y en plena celebración del Día de la Independencia de México y del mes de la Herencia Hispana en el país.

Ese centro educativo es uno de los 48 del condado que cuenta con el programa de actividades extraescolares After-School All Stars, fundado por el exgobernador Arnold Schwarzenegger y apoyado por nombres como Kobe Bryant, que incluye apoyo académico, práctica del deporte, clases de salud y nutrición, artes y servicios comunitarios, destinado a niños de entre 7 y 10 años.

Casi 10.000 estudiantes del condado de Los Ángeles se benefician de este programa, del que Chávez forma parte desde su junta directiva y que pretende alejar a los niños del crimen y la violencia. Prácticamente el 85 por ciento de ese número son alumnos de herencia hispana.

“Estoy muy orgulloso”, admitió Chávez. “Los niños aprenden así el legado de mi padre y se aproximan a la figura de César Chávez. Así tienen todo un ejemplo a seguir y la prueba de que una persona latina puede hacer lo que él hizo”, declaró.

A Chávez le gustaría que las nuevas generaciones recordasen a su padre como un hombre “humilde y sencillo”, algo a lo que el filme de Diego Luna podría contribuir.

“Mi padre demostró a la comunidad latina que una sola persona puede marcar la diferencia y puede luchar y cambiar las injusticias”, aseguró.

Chávez considera que la situación de los trabajadores ha mejorado pero denuncia que sigue habiendo casos de discriminación y de sueldos bajos.

“Era una época distinta. Los campesinos no tenían dónde dormir, ni dónde ir al baño, ni tenían agua fresca. Eso ha cambiado, aunque sigue habiendo sueldos bajos. Es bastante triste. Son quienes llevan la comida a la población de este país y prácticamente el 90 por ciento de ellos son latinos”, apuntó.

 

Comentario: Defendiendo el Sueño Americano

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Aun no tenía ni once años cuando soñé en un día convertirme en abogado. Ese sueño me ha traído mucha satisfacción pero también me ha causado dolor. A esa edad, la edad de la inocencia, presencie los horrores que causa la injusticia. Mire gente inocente siendo encarcelada que no tenía los recursos para comprar su libertad. Al ver esa injusticia yo pensaba que la justicia nunca debería depender de la habilidad de la persona para comprar la justicia, se debería de aplicar igualmente a todos.

La gente a menudo dice que soñar no cuesta nada y me alegra que así sea, de lo contrario nunca hubiera podido soñar tan alto. En 1987 yo vivía en México con mi madre y mis 4 hermanos menores. Muchas veces no teníamos dinero ni para comer, mucho menos para ropa o zapatos nuevos. Recuerdo que muchas veces fui a la escuela con hambre, con hambre y pena por mis zapatos rotos y viejos. Con toda esta pobreza pensarían que tuve una infancia muy triste pero no es así, pronto entendí que el dinero no lo es todo en este mundo y que el dinero no compra la felicidad.

Es difícil creer que ya han pasado 26 años desde que nació mi sueño. Ya no sufro por hambre ni por zapatos, he crecido aunque mis problemas también lo han hecho. Con mucho trabajo y sacrificio no solo mío sino de todos los que me rodean he logrado realizar mi sueño y terminar mi educación como abogado. Lamentablemente, dado mi falta de estatus legal en este país se me ha negado la oportunidad de tomar el último paso hacia mi sueño. Permíteme explicar, mi padre es un ciudadano norteamericano y el aplicó para que yo pueda tener mi residencia legal en este país, tristemente después de 19 años aun no he recibido mi tarjeta verde.

No tener esa simple tarjeta verde me ha causado muchísimos problemas, he tenido que pelear por mi derecho para poder defender a los demás. Apenas el pasado 4 de septiembre logre llegar a la corte más alta del estado de California. Para muchos llegar ahí seria una gran victoria en sus carreras pero no para mí.

Yo solo estaba ahí para pelear mi propio caso pero dado la falta de tiempo no pude decir ni una palabra. Deje que los adultos argumentaran mi caso, mi abogado, el abogado de la barra estatal de California he inclusive el abogado de nuestra fiscal general me representaron.

Ellos pelearon valientemente, lamentablemente uno solo puede ganar una pelea cuando la oposición está dispuesta a pelear. En este caso la corte pareció impotente ante la ley federal, basado en su reacción creo que la corte se siente de manos atadas e incapaz de ayudarme a realizar mi sueño y darme mi licencia. Aunque me desilusionó la reacción de la corte, no lo tome como una pérdida total. Al menos ahora sé lo que necesitan y les voy a ayudar para que ellos puedan realizar mi sueño. En cuanto salí de la corte me comunique con mis amistades en la Asamblea y el Senado de California. Sabía que si los convencía de pasar una ley que desatara las manos de la corte ellos podrían darme mi licencia.

Era mi última esperanza y no iba a escatimar esfuerzo para hacer mi sueño realidad, especialmente porque no tengo ganas de pelear en la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos.

Afortunadamente mis amistades en la Asamblea y el Senado habían seguido de cerca mi caso y estaban listos para defender mi sueño americano. El primero con que me comunique fue con el Asambleísta Luis Alejo ya que él me había apoyado muchísimo en el pasado. El pronto organizo a los demás y los motivo para que pasaran una ley a mi favor. Pronto todos los miembros del comité legislativo hispano se le habían unido y habían escogido a la Asambleísta Lorena González para encabezar el esfuerzo. Yo estaba súper contento con su respuesta tan rápida, me hizo sentir que había mas gente como yo, con mucha pasión por la justicia. Líderes de acción y no solo de palabra. Ese tipo de líder es el que ha sido siempre mi héroe y me encanto encontrar tanta gente con la misma mentalidad junta.

Pronto introdujeron la ley AB1024, una ley que puede abrirme la puerta a mi sueño y el de muchos otros jóvenes en mi misma situación. El estrés y la emoción crecieron exponencialmente. En esta vida nada que valga la pena es fácil ni llega sin arduo trabajo y sacrificio. No obstante yo estoy dispuesto a trabajar tan duro como sea necesario y arriesgarlo todo con tal de nuevamente darle vida al sueño americano.

 

Sergio García tiene 36 años de edad y es residente de Chico.  Esta nota se publico primero por New America Media. 

 

Licenses For All Drivers a Sensible Decision

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to sign a bill allowing the states’ undocumented immigrant drivers to apply for driver’s licenses is a wise move that will make our roads safer for all of us.

We need to know who is on our roads, and whether they have passed a driving test to show they are knowledgeable when it comes the rules of the road.

Granting drivers licenses comes with the added benefit that there is a greater likelihood that many of those now driving without auto insurance will now find it beneficial to purchase some.

We believe that drivers whose presence on our roads is documented have more to lose if they don’t follow the law, especially those who have been denied licenses for a long time.

Many law enforcement agencies across the state, including the Los Angeles Police Department,  have supported the issuance of licenses to undocumented immigrants as a practical solution to the growing problem of hit-and-run accidents involving cars and pedestrians. When people have a license and insurance, they are less likely to flee the scene of an accident if they can prove they have a license and insurance.

The state’s coffers will also benefit from the legislation as more people register their vehicles.

We don’t know if the granting of licenses to all Californians will push immigration reform in Washington, but passage of this bill, which has been approved in 13 other states, is sure to change drivers’ attitudes about vehicle ownership, registration and obeying traffic laws.

It could also have the added benefit of showing those who oppose immigration reform that legalizing the status of people in the country without authorization comes with many benefits.

The fear expressed by some law enforcement officials that licenses could be used as identification for air travel makes no sense to us, since the license will have a special mark indicating it is not valid for anything but driving.  Regardless, we believe it’s better to have travelers with valid identifications rather than false ones because it gives the traveling public a greater measure of security. Besides we don’t believe the DMV will start issuing licenses to people without a valid address or other identification.

White Memorial Celebrates Centennial

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

White Memorial Medical Center (WMMC) celebrated its 100th birthday last week during a low-key reception attended by many of its partners in the Los Angeles community.

White Memorial Medical Center is located East of Dowtown Los Angeles. (White Memorial Medical Center)

White Memorial Medical Center is located East of Dowtown Los Angeles. (White Memorial Medical Center)

Located in Boyle Heights, White Memorial opened its doors to Los Angeles residents in September 1913 as a small medical clinic on 1st street, where medical students, with just two years of classroom experience used secondhand medical instruments to offer free care to patients.

That small Seventh-day Adventist clinic is now a 353 beds hospital with an award-winning acute-care community and teaching hospital staffed by 462 physicians, 86 residents, 1,879 employees and nearly 700 volunteers.

Hosted by the White Memorial Medical Center Community Leadership Council, the centennial celebration paid tribute to the hospital’s 100-year mission to provide health services in an underserved community, and to the many individuals and organizations that have partnered with White Memorial along the way.

Supervisor Gloria Molina, one of the few speakers at the relaxed outdoor event, acknowledged the valuable role White Memorial has played in the community’s health and wellbeing, and marveled at how much it has grown over the years.

Beth Zachary, WMMC President and CEO, thanked their partners, the leadership council, foundation board of directors and White Memorial’s dedicated doctors and staff for all their hard work on behalf of the hospital.

A New Bracero Program Will Hurt Farmworkers

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Most media coverage of immigration today accepts as fact claims by growers that they can’t get enough workers to harvest crops. Agribusiness wants a new guest worker program, and complaints of a labor shortage are their justification for it. But a little investigation of the actual unemployment rate in farmworker communities leads to a different picture.

There are always local variations in crops, and the number of workers needed to pick them. But the labor shortage picture is largely a fiction. I’ve spent over a decade traveling through California valleys and I have yet to see fruit rotting because of a lack of labor to pick it. I have seen some pretty miserable conditions for workers, though.

As the nation debates changes in our immigration laws, we need a reality check. There is no question that the demographics of farm labor are changing. Today many more workers migrate from small towns in southern Mexico and even Central America than ever before. In the grape rows and citrus trees, you’re as likely to hear Mixtec or Purepecha or Triqui – indigenous languages that predate Columbus – as you are to hear Spanish.

These families are making our country a richer place, in wealth and culture. For those who love spicy mole sauce, or the beautiful costumes and dance festivals like the guelaguetza, that’s reason to celebrate. In the off-season winter months, when there’s not much work in the fields, indigenous women weavers create brilliant rebozos, or shawls, in the styles of their hometowns in Oaxaca.

But the wages these families earn are barely enough to survive. As Abe Lincoln said, “labor creates all wealth,” but farmworkers get precious little of it. Farmworkers are worse off today than they’ve been for over two decades.

Twenty-five years ago, at the height of the influence of the United Farm Workers, union contracts guaranteed twice the minimum wage of the time. Today, the hourly wage in almost every farm job is the minimum wage – $8.00 an hour in California, $7.25 elsewhere under the Federal law. If wages had kept up with that UFW base rate, farmworkers today would be making $16.00 an hour. But they’re not.

If there were a labor shortage so acute that growers were having a hard time finding workers, they would be raising wages to make jobs more attractive. But they aren’t.

And despite claims of no workers, rural unemployment is high. Today’s unemployment rate in Delano, birthplace of the United Farm Workers, is 30 percent. Last year in the Salinas Valley, the nation’s salad bowl, it swung between 12% and 22%.

Yet growers want to be able to bring workers into the country on visas that say they have to work at minimum wage in order to stay, and must be deported if they are out of work longer than a brief time. The industry often claims that if it doesn’t have a new contract labor program to supply workers at today’s low wages, consumers will have to pay a lot more for fruit and vegetables. But low wages haven’t kept prices low. The supermarket price of fruit has more than doubled in the last two decades.

Low wages have a human cost, however. In housing, it means that families live in cramped trailers, or packed like sardines in apartments and garages, with many people sleeping in a single room.

Indigenous workers have worse conditions than most, along with workers who travel with the crops. Migrants often live in cars, sometimes even sleeping in the fields or under the trees.

Housing is in crisis in rural California. Over the last half-century, growers demolished most of the old labor camps for migrant workers. They were never great places to live, but having no place is worse.

In past years I’ve seen children working in fields in northern Mexico, but this year I saw them working here too. When families bring their kids to work, it’s not because they don’t value their education or future. It’s because they can’t make ends meet with the labor of adults alone.

What would make a difference?

Unions would. The UFW pushed wages up decades ago, getting the best standard of living California farmworkers ever received. But growers have been implacably hostile to union organizing. For guest workers and undocumented workers alike, joining a union or demanding rights can mean risking not just firing, but deportation.

Enforcing the law would better workers’ lives. California Rural Legal Assistance does a heroic job inspecting field conditions, and helping workers understand their rights. But that’s an uphill struggle too. According to the Indigenous Farm Worker Survey, a third of the workers surveyed still get paid less than the minimum. Many are poisoned with pesticides, suffer from heat exhaustion, and work in illegal conditions.

Give workers real legal status. Farmworkers need a permanent residence visa, not a guest worker visa conditioned on their work status. This would ensure their right to organize without risking deportation. Organization in turn would bring greater equality, stability and recognition of their important contribution. It would bring higher earnings.

But growers don’t want to raise wages to attract labor. Instead, they want workers on temporary visas, not permanent ones – a steady supply of people who can work, but can’t stay, or who get deported if they become unemployed. This is a repeat of the old, failed bracero program of the 1940s and 50s, or the current failures of today’s H2A visa program that succeeded it.

With a temporary labor program, farm wages will not rise. Instead, farmworkers will subsidize agribusiness with low wages, in the name of keeping agriculture “competitive.” Strikes and unions that raise family income will be regarded as a threat.

We’ve seen this before. During the bracero program, when resident workers struck, growers brought in braceros. And if braceros struck, they were deported. That’s why Cesar Chavez, Ernesto Galarza and Bert Corona finally convinced Congress to end the program in 1964. The UFW’s first grape strike began the year after the bracero law was repealed.

Today immigrant workers who already live in the U.S., like those who recently went on strike at Washington State’s Sakuma Berry Farms, are being pitted against modern-day braceros brought in under the H2A program. The H2A wage sets the limit on what growers will pay.

Workers fear that if they protest, they won’t get hired for next year’s picking season, and others will take their places.

Farmworkers perform valuable work and need better conditions and security, not an immigration reform that will keep them in poverty.  Giving employers another bracero program is a failed idea, one we shouldn’t repeat. Farm labor that can support families is a better one.

 

David Bacon is a California writer and photographer. His new book, The Right to Stay Home – How U.S. Policy Drives Mexican Migration, was just published by Beacon Press. Distributed by New America Media.

Opening Reception Three Falls Shows at the East Los Angeles College

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

ELAC

ELAC

Sat., Sept, 21

5-8pm—Opening Reception Three Falls Shows at the East Los Angeles College Vincent Price Museum. Featured exhibits include the only L.A. showing of the highly-acclaimed 2012 retrospective Santa Ana Condition: John Valadez, in the Large Gallery;  “When You Sleep: A Survey of Shizu Saldamando. The first solo-show by the visual artist will be held in the Small Gallery; and South Los Angeles native Jaime Zacarias, aka GERMS, is featured in the HOY SPACE. The museum is located on the ELAC campus, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez in Monterey Park. For more information, call (323) 265-8841 or visit vincentpriceartmuseum.elac.edu

Law to Grant Undocumented Immigrant Licenses Approved

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Southland activists and lawmakers are hailing the passage of a bill that will provide California driver’s licenses to immigrants who are living in the country illegally.

“Today marks an important day in history, and ends a long chapter of fighting for the public safety of all drivers on our roads,” Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo said. “I applaud our state legislators for doing the right thing in understanding the significance and impact this bill will have on the millions of undocumented workers, and look forward to Gov. (Jerry) Brown’s signature.”

Brown indicated he will sign legislation, which was approved Sept. 13 despite being withdrawn earlier in the day, but later revived.

“This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally,” Brown said. “Hopefully it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”

Supporters said the measure will ensure that all drivers on the roads are educated and insured, but critics contended there was no guarantee that immigrants who obtain the licenses will be properly trained and would purchase insurance. Some critics also argued that the bill goes to far with its language prohibiting housing and job discrimination, saying it will lead to confusion among employers who are shown one of the specially designated licenses by a potential employee.

Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, conceded that the bill is not perfect, but it’s a “step in the right direction.”

“This bill responds to an urgent need by more than a million working men and women in California who want to be properly trained, drive without fear and contribute their hard earned dollars to our state’s economic growth,” Salas said. “… CHIRLA has been fighting to obtain a driver’s license for qualified drivers in California since 1993. We will continue to work with the legislature, DMV, and other law enforcement agencies to ensure all qualified motorists in California, regardless of immigration status, get an opportunity and the privilege to drive without fear of persecution, bias, or racial profiling.”

Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, said all California residents could see benefits of the legislation, saying, “Studies have shown that insurance premiums would go down as a result of having fewer uninsured drivers on the road.”

But Davi Rodrigues of Save Our State, an anti-illegal-immigration activist group, said the bill means the Legislature “has created yet another special class of persons who are to be exempted from average laws.”

“Laws that discriminate on the basis of country of origin are constitutionally suspect,” he said. “This law discriminates against California residents born in this country, as they will not be able to sign their way into a driver’s license without supplying their Social Security

numbers. I’m suspicious that this may be a good reason for this law to be overturned.”

Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing Los Angeles police officers, said the legislation should lead to the rescission of LAPD Special Order 7, which allows some unlicensed drivers to avoid mandatory 30-day impounds under certain conditions. The union challenged the order in court, and a judge last month struck it down, although appeals are pending.

“If the language of the new law provides an opportunity for everyone to be tested and acquire a drivers’ license, I expect that the chief will rescind his order and we will be able to resolve our issues,” Izen said. “If there are people who driver without a drivers’ license, they should have their cars impounded as the Legislature intended.”

Eastside Public Education Activist To Be Remembered

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Friends and family will remember an education activist who served as Los Angeles Unified’s first Director for the Mexican American Education Commission during a memorial service later this month.

Raúl P. Arreola passed away August 27, he was 89. (Photo courtesy of Arreola Family)

Raúl P. Arreola passed away August 27, he was 89. (Photo courtesy of Arreola Family)

Raúl P. Arreola, passed away peacefully at his Los Angeles home on Aug. 27, he was 89.

Arreola was born in Los Angeles to an immigrant Mexican family.

After joining the U.S at the age of 17 during WWII, he returned home and became the first of his family to attend college. He received his BA and a teaching credential from Cal State LA.

Throughout his life Arreola was active in the struggle to bring equality to Eastside schools, and to improve educational outcomes for Latino students.

Friends say he was a freethinker and anti-war activist, a gifted painter and lover of art and history.  Many will remember him as a champion of good public education and a committed community educator.

Arreola is survived by his three children, Paul, Linda and Olivia.

His memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28th at 2pm at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles: 2936 W. 8th Street, Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made to the Rubén Salazar Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the Raúl Arreola Scholarship Award. The donation can be mailed United Teachers of Los Angeles, 3303, Wilshire Blvd. 10th floor, L.A. CA.  90010.

In Defense of the American Dream

September 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

I must have been no older than 10 years old when I dreamt of one day becoming an attorney. That dream has brought me great satisfaction, but also considerable heartache. At that innocent age I was exposed to the horrors of injustice. I saw innocent people being locked up and kept in jail because they were unable to buy their freedom. Justice should never depend on one’s ability to pay for it. It should apply equally to all.

People say it doesn’t cost anything to dream and I am glad it doesn’t because otherwise I would have never been able to afford such a big dream. In 1987 I lived in Mexico with my mother and four younger siblings. Many times we didn’t even have enough money to eat, much less for clothes or shoes. I recall often going to school hungry and embarrassed by my old torn shoes. With all of this poverty you would think I was an unhappy child, but I wasn’t. Money isn’t everything in this world and you don’t miss what you have never had.

It’s hard to believe that 26 years have gone by since the birth of my dream. I no longer struggle for food or shoes. I have grown, but so have my problems. With a great deal of hard work and sacrifice, not only from me but from all of those around me, I managed to realize my dream and finish my education as an attorney. Sadly, given my lack of status I have been prevented from taking the last step towards the achievement of my dream.

Allow me to explain. My father, who is now a U.S. citizen, applied to have my status adjusted, for me to have a green card. This was 19 years ago and I still don’t have one.

Not having a green card has opened a Pandora’s box for me. I have had to fight for my right to be able to one-day fight for others. On Sept. 4, 2013, I reached the highest court in the state of California – perhaps something that to most would seem a lofty goal in their law careers, but not to me, since I was there to fight my own case. And given the limited amount of time provided by the court, I was not even able to say a word. I allowed the grown-ups to do the arguing for me: private counsel, the California State Bar attorney and the attorney for our very own state Attorney General.

They fought with courage. However, a fight can only be won if the opposition is open to engage. Here, the court appeared impotent against a federal law that, based on their reaction, they feel ties their hands and prevents them from allowing me to fulfill my dream and issue me a law license. Even though I was discouraged by their response, I did not take it as a total defeat. I took it as an opportunity to help them help me. As soon as I left the courthouse, I reached out to some of my friends in the California legislature. I knew that passing a law that would free the court’s hands to grant me a license was my last hope to fulfill my dream – short of taking my fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Luckily, my friends had been paying attention to my plight and were quick to step in, in defense of the American dream. Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) assembled the troops and encouraged them to pass a favorable law quickly.

Soon all members of the Latino Legislative Caucus had heeded the call to action and had picked Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to lead the effort. I was ecstatic at their quick response. It made me feel like someone shared my passion for justice. Those who lead by action and not mere words have always been my heroes and it was refreshing to find so many like-minded people all at once.

Once Gonzalez introduced AB 1024 – the bill that could potentially open the door to my dream, and that of many others – my excitement increased exponentially. With less than a week left in this year’s legislative session, the measure was written, debated and passed by the state legislature. The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk.

Nothing that is truly worthwhile comes without effort or sacrifice, but I am out to prove that the American dream is still out there for the taking.

 

Sergio Garcia, the 36-year-old Chico man whose struggle to practice law was the subject of a California Supreme Court hearing earlier this month, inspired a last-minute bill that passed last week in the state legislature. 

 

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