DACA Underexposed

In 2012, DACA provided a glimmer of hope to undocumented children. Instead of being regulated to subpar prospects, for the first time these kids could seek out a higher education, drive, and obtain more than emergency medical care. They planned and studied for actual careers, when their parents were obliged to accept menial jobs, unless by some miracle they were able to save enough money to open their own businesses.

Now, the future of all these children and young adults is again in question. Will they have to give up their education, their jobs, and their hopes for the future?

Why must these children and young adults only live the life they deserve in their dreams?

In my story, Underexposed, which takes place at The Final Draft, soon to be released in the Speakeasy Scribes anthology, the protagonist, a photojournalist named Gustavo, just so happens to be an orphan who was naturalized as a U.S. citizen. He escaped his life as a garbage picker in Tijuana as a child. Here’s a peek at his story.

“At the age of nine, I was picked up by CPS on the streets of San Diego where I was selling gum to surfers on Mission Beach after escaping my so called life as a scavenger in the heaps of Tijuana. I knew my name, but never had a birth certificate from Mexico to prove it or my birth-date. I still don’t know my real birth-date. The one on my ID was just chosen by random by my social worker, Beth. She took pity on me, watched out for me. She was the first person who ever really cared about me.” I sniff at her memory.

“She sounds like an amazing woman.”

I nod and meet Zoe’s eyes. “She must have had some crazy connections with the state department and immigration because after eight years in the foster care system, I came out of it with a U.S. passport.”

“That’s incredible. See, I knew you’d be interesting.” She nudges my shoulder with hers.

I shrug. “I’ve always been grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given since arriving in the U.S., yet never felt like I quite deserved them. Why me and not the others, the kids I left behind?”

She places a gentle hand on my forearm. “Why not you?”

***

Unfortunately, most kids that arrive as Gustavo did never end up as citizens. They spend their lives observing their friends and peers succeed while they remain limited by their lack of documentation just because their parents didn’t have the money or connections to bring them here with the proper piece of paper in hand. But then, when you are fleeing a place where you decidedly have little or no opportunities, you are rarely going to be in a position to provide financial proof of eligibility. Because let’s face it, those who are financially thriving in their own countries are not a threat. They produce bank statements and a list of assets as evidence they are likely to return in order to enter the U.S. legally. Americans take for granted that we are blessed with access into most countries in the world without anything more than a passport. To obtain a passport, all we need is a birth certificate. No one asks to see our financial statements. No one questions whether or not we will overstay our expected visit. But someone who has nothing-not even a birth certificate from their own country because they were born into poverty or are from a small village where they don’t exist-what collateral do they have to provide their government or ours of their return?

It’s the dream of something better, a better life for themselves and their children that brings them here. After all, isn’t there a plaque next to our Lady Liberty, one of the most recognized statues in the world, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Keep their dreams alive. Write to your representatives in Congress in support of the #Dreamers today.

The Speakeasy Scribes-A forum for free and progressive thinkers who write across a multitude of genres to share their art and love of the written word. Find us on Facebook and Like our page here: https://www.facebook.com/SpeakeasyScribes/

 

The Final Draft Tavern is the fictional home-away-from-home for the Speakeasy Scribes and their literary characters, who will appear here (and in upcoming box sets). The Final Draft has always been a hotbed of rebellion and dissent, its backroom a legendary locale for activists, protestors, and resistance movements. The tavern has been in existence since 1068, and is accessible from every country and continent, in every time period — past, present, and future. (Maybe you can find a portal in your neighborhood…) The bookstore, the bar, and the building, have been passed down for centuries, through generations of the Marchand family, holders of the keys to the secrets it keeps. Find us on Facebook and Like our page here: https://www.facebook.com/FinalDraftTavern/

I write sweet and spicy romance, and enjoy reading a wide range of genres. Exploring the art of the written word is a passion, and I delight in both page-turning conflict and stomach-flipping chemistry. Other than English, I speak Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. My dream is to travel the world with my laptop, creating captivating characters and dreamy escapes. I sing constantly, if a bit off-key to my family’s chagrin. I’m also a klutz, and in my own mind, I’m hilarious.

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Are you paying attention?

all-human-beings-are-equal-in-dignity-and-rights

Michael Douglas in The American President said, “Being president of this country is entirely about character.” This statement couldn’t be more accurate.

He goes on to say, “America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve got to want it bad because it’s going to put up a fight. It’s going to say, you want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a life time opposing at the top of yours.”

My fellow humans, now is not the time to hide under a rock. Yes, I understand you feel anxious, overwhelmed, and are sick and tired of political posts clogging up your social media news feed. Yes, I too would like to read about the next big romance novel and watch a few cat videos. But the simple truth is the U.S., and by default the world, is in crisis. If you still think it’s all talk, you haven’t been paying attention.

U.S. Constitution-Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You don’t want to get involved… The change in policies won’t affect you… What about your family, friends, neighbors? Will you look the other way when the person standing next to you is taken into custody and shipped off to a detainment center? Or worse?

Your human rights are in jeopardy. The environment, this place we call home, ya know, earth, is in jeopardy. This isn’t something we can pretend will go away. Naiveté in this matter is not endearing or acceptable.

If you are unfamiliar with what exactly human rights are, I direct you to the UN website and a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html which I have also copied below.

How many of these freedoms will we lose before everyone stands up and says, “Hell No!” The United States is a government by the people for the people; that means majority rules, my friends. I have to believe that the majority of people out there still know the difference between right and wrong.

One of the best things to come from all of this craziness are the number of people who are paying attention. People that had absolutely no interest in politics before. But this isn’t just about politics. This is about life.

I do not want to end up living in a place that limits my freedoms similar to any number of the dystopian novels I’ve read. The whole purpose of those books is a warning of what could happen when certain freedoms are taken away by a tyrannical government. It’s f**king terrifying.

Now more than ever you need to be informed and aware of what is going on in the world. That being said, we still have to work, eat, take care of our kids and ourselves. So take a break from the news and read a book. Enjoy your hot bath with a glass of wine. Feel free to watch that comedy tonight. We all need time to regroup and just be. But make no mistake, we are living through a very crucial moment in history. If you want to survive, you will need to defend yourself and your fellow human beings.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Preamble

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore,

The General Assembly,

Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article I

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11

  1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.
  2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
  2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14

  1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15

  1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16

  1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17

  1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21

  1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  2. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
  3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23

  1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26

  1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27

  1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29

  1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

These are your rights. Now you know them. Be prepared to defend them.

I write sweet and spicy romance, and enjoy reading a wide range of genres. Exploring the art of the written word is a passion, and I delight in both page-turning conflict and stomach-flipping chemistry. Other than English, I speak Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. My dream is to travel the world with my laptop, creating captivating characters and dreamy escapes. I sing constantly, if a bit off-key to my family’s chagrin. I’m also a klutz, and in my own mind, I’m hilarious.Author Pic Final 2016

Website: http://www.yoursweetandspicyromanceauthor.com/

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Ramadan-Food for thought

IMG_0150My husband is Muslim. I’m not. We accept and love each other anyways. It’s a non-issue in our house. We celebrate Muslim holidays, Christian holidays, and cultural holidays together as one.

My husband fasts. I don’t. Or I didn’t this year. For those that don’t know, it’s a holiday that does not have a fixed date. It changes based on lunar cycles and lasts for about a month. Each year the dates shift about ten days earlier on the calendar than the year before. When I was first married, we celebrated Ramadan in December. This year, it’s in the middle of summer. That means an even longer day of fasting. It lasts from sunrise to sunset and there is no eating or drinking.

Sound crazy? It’s not. But fasting is crazy hard. That’s why, this year, I have opted not to fast. I’m a wimp. I admit it. But here’s what I love about the holiday:

  • My husband becomes more focused. Yes he gets cranky when he’s hungry or thirsty, but who wouldn’t. He centers himself around prayer and making sure he is home for dinner (or breakfast in this case) and focuses on his family, work, and food. Lots of food.
  • Dinner with friends and family becomes almost a daily experience. It’s hard, on a regular basis, to get a busy family to the dinner table at the same time. But during Ramadan, everyone eats together. Friends come by to eat. Invites to other’s homes abound. The family table becomes the friendly table. Grab a stool, claim a corner of the table, and dig in. Everyone is welcome. No invitation is required. There’s enough food for everyone and anyone who drops by.
  • It’s healthy in ways you wouldn’t think of. Fasting is a way to detox from alcohol and other bad habits. Instead of going out for drinks, for fun we sit and play cards, board games with the kids, swim, or engage in other family appropriate activities which only provides more quality time with the kids.
  • The TV is awesome. In Morocco, where my husband is from, every Ramadan the people become engrossed in the new mini-series that airs especially during the month of Ramadan. Like Spanish novellas, these are addictive. I wait every day for my husband to turn on the latest episode of Waadi to see if Mina will finally get together with Ali. Usually, while my husband is watching Arabic channels after kicking my son off Cartoon Network, I’m busy working at my laptop. But I’m telling you, these story writers really know how to keep you hooked and waiting for the HEA.

IMG_0795

My eleven year old son is fasting for the first time this year. Most days he eats earlier than my husband, which is just fine since this is his first attempt and since the fast doesn’t break until 8:35pm. But today he went the whole day and broke his fast with his dad. We let him manage it himself. If he says he’s thirsty and needs a drink, then he drinks. Same with food, because let’s face it: he’s still a kid. But as long as he’s busy playing with his friends or with his video games, he doesn’t think about food most days until around 5pm. Of course, he is also sleeping late every day because he stays up with his dad late at night. It’s summer. Who cares.

I see my husband (sometimes I don’t because I’m fast asleep) wake up at 3:30am to go to work so he’ll be home in the afternoon to relax. Yet, I get home from my job at 6:30pm and he’s already making dinner (aka breakfast.) I’m very proud of him; of how hard he works, how much attention he gives our family. We are very blessed in our mixed faith home.

Sometimes things are completely different than they appear. Ramadan seems like such an extreme holiday to an outsider. They don’t understand how anyone could enjoy going without food and water all day long. Sounds more like a punishment to most. But it’s a reminder of those that go hungry around the world. It’s a time to pray and reflect on the important things in life. The holiday teaches generosity and kindness. It teaches us to be grateful for the food on our table. We take so many things for granted as a society and stress about so many things on a daily basis that are really insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Maybe all we really need to be happy is a good meal with friends and family. Something to think about.

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