Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Daniel Rodriguez

I wanted to shift gears temporarily from the recent focus on women's roles. 

Our family lives in Arizona, and our church recently held a Rector's Forum on some of the hot button issues involving immigration.  The Forum began with a law professor summarizing the state of the law of S.B. 1070 after the recent Supreme Court opinion on its constitutionality.  Then a lawyer, who belongs to our church, gave a brief history of the controversial state statute. 

We then had two speakers share their personal experiences with the issue of illegal immigration.  One speaker was a local police officer who is a member of our parish.  He shared the chaos caused by the uncertain nature of the statute's viability, as well as the potential disruption to community policing of the "show us your papers" provision of the statute if it ever takes effect. 

The other speaker was a young man named Daniel Rodriguez.  Daniel was a very eloquent speaker.  As he told his story, many of our parishioners were moved to tears.

Daniel is a "dreamer."  He was born in Northern Mexico but brought here illegally as a child by his mother who was fleeing domestic violence.  Like many families, Daniel's mom had relatives on both sides of the border.  When she fled, she had a good job in Mexico, but eventually she couldn't tolerate the violence at home.  Daniel had enjoyed his life in Mexico and experienced a great deal of culture shock when he arrived in the United States.  It took time for him to adjust to his new life.

Daniel has always been very close to his mom and sister.  They stuck together as they made a new life in the United States.  Daniel was bright and worked hard in school.  His mother encouraged him to become a lawyer because he was always asking questions and frankly he had a penchant for arguing.  He didn't always get a lot of encouragement to pursue this dream from his school counselors, but his mom and sister believed in him and supported him.

Daniel did eventually go to college.  He graduated from prestigious Arizona State University in 2008.  He earned degrees in Political Science and English Literature.  He was named Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student at the Hispanic Convocation.

But his success in college almost got sidetracked.  Halfway through his undergraduate studies, most of his scholarships were taken away despite the fact that he had a 3.8 GPA.  His family helped him push through and make ends meet to finish his degree.

He then got even closer to his dream of becoming a lawyer when he was accepted to the highly ranked Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.  Because of his talent and hard work, Daniel finished his first year in the top 20% of his class, which is an amazing accomplishment.  But he had to put his legal studies on hold.  Because of his immigration status, he was no longer eligible for financial aid.

At this point, Daniel is at a critical crossroads.  If he does not go back to school, he will lose credit for the one year of studies he has already completed.  If he were to go back to law school at a later point, he would have to start all over again.

Daniel wants to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer and is in need of support.  If you are interested in contributing, the following link will help you do so:  http://eversinceiwas7.wordpress.com/help-me-get-there/.

Romans 12:13
Take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into your home.

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