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Immigrant Teens Give Peer-to-Peer Advice On Fear, Family and Friends

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Last semester VOX Investigates covered the subject of immigration and shared the stories of immigrant teens and refugees. Several teens wanted to give advice to their peers about living as an immigrant in the U.S. today.

By Edith Gonzales, Chamblee High School/Latin American Association

Advice [from] me to them would be that as a family everything will be alright, especially if someone gets deported, everything will be alright. Your family members could have a solution. …Facing someone who has caused you danger is tough. Living [with] the fear can cause people depression and also anger. The way to stand up [is to] forget what happened or talking to a good person, meaning an adult and therapist. Accepting that help can cause your life to change = peace, calm, relax and not having anger.

By Valery Mangiante, 18, GSU/ LAA Youth Summit

“You will never be anything.” I was told this by a fellow Latino. It hurt. I hated how that felt because I wanted to be a lawyer. I knew I really wanted this. I shook it off, told him he was an idiot and now I’m pursuing my goal. The moral of this is no matter what, never give up, never let someone make you feel so small that you decide they are right and then you give up. It can happen. To quote The Cuban Guy, “If there is a will, there is a way.”

By Caleb Lewis, 16, Kennesaw Mountain High School/LAA Youth Summit

Stay focused. All of us get distracted and off track, but we have to get back on track. For our parents, ancestors, and community. This is important to them. We need to represent them and all of their successes and struggles that they’ve been through to give us a better life.

By Jackie, 16, Clarkston High School/ New American Pathways

Living your life as an immigrant can be really tough. I’m also an immigrant who came to the U.S. not knowing how to speak English. Everything was all new to me, but I learned and am still learning. Some advice I would give to teen girls with immigrant status living in Atlanta today is to stay true to yourself. In the U.S. some people feel as if you have to be a different person to fit in or to get noticed. Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do this or be this. Choose a path that will help you succeed. Choose your friends wisely. Hang with people who are driven and have a strong ambition. Work hard for yourself and always keep your head up, even if things are going wrong, because in the end everything you’ve worked hard for will be worth it.

Amaka Obasi, 16, Lakeside High School / LAA Youth Summit

Hey, teens, I know that we are in a very sensitive position right now, which is influenced by the high level of technology. Through this medium, I want you to know that whatever the circumstance is, you can overcome it. So many people would have insulted you because of your way of living, but believe me, do not let the words of people weigh you down. Keep striving, the sky is your starting point.

By Hawa Bello, 17, Clarkston High School / New American Pathways

Follow your dream, work hard, and don’t let anyone get you down because you are the future. Don’t believe everything you see or hear in social media because people fear you.

By Farzana Barati, 14, Druid Hills Middle School / Global Village Project Alumna

Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. You should never listen to people because they will try to bring you down. In my life, I have learned that you should never judge a book by its cover, but to read and understand the story before judging. You should never give up on yourself or your dream because we work hard for them to make them true. You should never be embarrassed at your mistakes, because we learn from them. Never let yourself down. I don’t try to be what I am not because I am me, and I get to choose how the ending will be.


For copies of VOX’s special edition on immigration contact Allison@voxatl.org

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