I have little memory of coming to the United States since I was the youngest of my siblings at the time arriving at 4 years old. With both of my parents busy at work, I spent most of my time playing with neighborhood friends and drawing. My family came from South Korea with little money in hopes of a better living situation and more opportunity.
My life was here in America, in New Jersey, growing up in Jersey City. I never knew of my status and my early childhood experiences until I was in high school. I started to have an interest in driving and was getting ready to get my license. I was baffled by the obstacles I faced trying to obtain one. The possibility of not being able to do something that seemed like a useful skill to have surprised me. Soon I discovered I was brought here from another country against my will and because of this, had less privileges.
I started to question, "Why?"
I fell into a deep melancholy fearing I was unable to get a college education and achieve other goals I had in life. However, as soon as my parents heard about the DACA program, made possible by Barack Obama, I became a recipient right away. This gave me hope and a feeling of belonging in the only country I have known. And so, I attended college and got my driver's license.
I have continued to pursue my dream and appreciate every opportunity. I continued growing, painting, and working towards my goal of becoming a professional makeup artist. I spend most of my time collaborating with a diverse range of creative and talented photographers, stylists and other artists in the area. I have never felt more inspired.
After hearing the news that Trump is in favor of ending the DACA program, I started to question yet again, "Why?" The feelings I have felt in my early teen years were back. I felt lost and the shared pain of nearly 1 million Dreamers like myself. But, I did not want to hide in the shadows like our current "President" is trying to impose. I wanted to stand out even more. I have personally experienced discrimination by having my status used against me.
Despite the negative energy, the current events fuel me with motivation. I knew this would not stop me from living a life my parents suffered and worked hard to preserve. I feel blessed with the support I have today and the opportunities that come my way from simply not being afraid. I want myself and other Dreamers to be loud, speak out, and strive. We are definitely not alone in this confusing time. I believe nothing can ever stop us from dreaming.