California DREAMers

Dear Editor:I want to thank you, Melissa Nunez and Claudia Retamoza for the article "Undocumented and Unafraid." Claudia, thank you for sharing your story of growth that will bring hope and knowledge to other students; Melissa, thank you for reporting on the struggles of undocumented youth and for providing facts around the DREAM Act; Eric, thank you for publishing an article that calls attention to the confusion that undocumented students face. I work with juniors and seniors in Los Angeles high schools teaching effective personal statement writing techniques for private colleges, UCs and Cal State EOP questions to provide students equal access to higher education. I meet many undocumented students just like Claudia who have high GPAs and a strong desire to go to college, but because they grow up in fear and are often advised to keep their status a secret, they don't receive the necessary information to plan for a successful path to college. I am very happy to learn that DREAM Team LA is bringing support and empowerment to students at Warren High, my alma mater. I hope to be in contact to learn how I can get involved in supporting the DREAMers in both their applications to universities and with writing scholarship essays. This is a call to action to other community members who want to support the inspiring and incredible youth of Downey. Marisa Urrutia Gedney Downey

Dear Editor: I am writing to congratulate Melissa Nunez for writing an article that is refreshingly needed in the city of Downey and across the state. Her focus on Claudia Retamoza and other DREAMers like her is to be commended. Too many people ignore the fact that this country was founded on the ideals and sacrifices of immigrants. I am not an immigrant, yet as a 2012 graduate of Warren High School, I can say that some of the most dedicated and focused students I went to school with were. From them I learned the importance of making right on the privilege of receiving a public education. When I stop to reflect on why some immigrants had a different view on education than the rest of us, it occurred to me that it was because of the sacrifices their parents made when deciding to cross a hostile border and set aside their dreams. Immigrants everywhere, from the past and the present, cross borders for the hope of their family and their children. While I know we cannot have an open border, we as a country need to extend citizenship to those who have been here long enough to know and love no other country. Furthermore, if they have proven themselves as exceptional students and community members, why wouldn't we want to add them to the list of U.S. citizens? I suggest that people who echo nothing more than empty phrases of intolerance instead use their time to research their own history. Surely there was an immigrant somewhere in their past who made the difficult choice of leaving their country of birth to come to the United States. They did not do this for themselves -- the first generation immigrant always suffers the most -- they did this for their descendants. Maybe instead of investing in hate, we should invest in humility, the humility to admit that each and every one of us has immigrants in our family who were wrongly persecuted and blamed for the ills of society. Alec Dominguez Downey

Dear Editor: I am from Mexican parents who migrated to the country in the 60s. I am writing to you in a desperate call of beseech. I am a 21-year resident of Downey and read your newspaper all the time. I can not hold my thoughts further. Throughout the years I have read numerous racist, ignorant and demeaning comments towards the Hispanic community that now occupies the suburb city of Downey, as well as personally encountered discrimination from other white American residents. I have seen Downey bloom from what it was 20 years ago both in socioeconomic and residential improvement by the Hispanic residents of Downey. Good things have happened to Downey because of the Hispanic community. Statistics demonstrate that Hispanics spend more money than any other immigrant group in the United States. Major store chains and restaurants want to be in Downey mostly due to the Hispanic community. I recently read a comment on Eric Pierce's blog ( stating that Downey has changed from the 70s to a "barrio." Certainly all cities have changed since the 70s in many ways. It is generations and social morality to blame, not the Hispanic race. Rosa Velarde Downey

********** Published: January 31, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 42