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Coming out of the shadows

Nilda, a Lane student's grandmother, pictured above with her family, escaped from Russia and immigrated to Cuba before immigrating here. Her story is one of 70 stories featured in the Dreamers' Club Nation of Immigrants project. (Photo Courtesy of Anonymous Lane student)

Nilda, a Lane student's grandmother, pictured above with her family, escaped from Russia and immigrated to Cuba before immigrating here. Her story is one of 70 stories featured in the Dreamers' Club Nation of Immigrants project. (Photo Courtesy of Anonymous Lane student)

By Hillary Flores, Reporter

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Since Jews were being persecuted in Russia, she fled her home country and changed her name only to realize that the United States denied her entrance. Cuba was the last option she had as she escaped in one small boat.

Nilda’s arrival to Cuba as an immigrant was one of about 70 stories that were shared in Dreamers’ Club Nation of Immigrants project, which can be found in front of the main office and down first floor hallways.  

This project dealt with one form that was sent to the CPS emails of all Lane students asking, “Share your story or that of someone you know that was an immigrant.” The resulting responses from the student body were numerous and the Dreamers’ Club was able to achieve their goal of demonstrating the diversity that makes up the Lane student body and also bring out awareness that in some way everyone is an immigrant.

According to some members of Dreamers’ Club, immigrants are not just made up of Latinos and that is what they hoped to illustrate by revealing the background stories of student immigrants and their families. The Nation of Immigrants form not only helped undocumented students build the courage to come out and show how they came to the country, but also helped portray the stories of their allies coming from Germany, Japan, Jordan, China, and other countries.

Even though they received about 70 stories, the club will not stop there. Dreamers’ Club is planning to film a video of all of those students that participated by sharing their background stories.    

We’re [going to] start interviewing [those] who filled out the form on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we’re probably gonna release the video before the end of the school year,” Ada Marys Lorenzana, Div. 777, said.  “It might continue on next year because [the video] will be used as a promo for the club next year as well.”

One of the stories shared was from a current senior Olvin Galeas, Div. 757, who described his experience coming from Honduras with his mother. The story showed that immigrants do struggle daily even after arriving to the U.S.

Once in the U.S., life was difficult, but it was the only one I knew,” said Galeas. “Coming into this country speaking no English whatsoever with few friends to look towards for help, I had to quickly adjust to the new reality of needing to learn the language.”

By sharing his experience, Galeas also said that the project served to show that America is full of immigrants from all over the world.

This nation was built on the backs of immigrants, and a closed minded mentality of the few that threaten the stability of the whole country,” said Galeas.

According to some members of Dreamers’ Club, the project was also a way to demonstrate the difficulties and experiences that immigrants have gone through in order to arrive in another unknown country.

We wanted to come up with a way to show that immigrants come from all over the world,” said Julissa Martinez, Div. 864. “Therefore, Ada came up with the idea of having students and faculty members at Lane send in stories of an experience that they went through or of someone else,” Martinez said.

Dreamers’ Club continues to confront discrimination issues with the help of those outside of the club as well through this project. The Nation Of Immigrants Project allowed Lane students to open up their minds and connect students from all different backgrounds.

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Coming out of the shadows