Remembering DREAMer Joaquin Luna

November 28th, 2011 · 5 Comments

By Thailandia Alafitta

On Friday, November 25th, DREAMers lost a brother in the struggle, Joaquin Luna. Joaquin was a DREAMer from Mission, TX, a border town, where undocumented students are further imprisoned as the multiple checkpoints make it nearly impossible to even get out of the small confines of their town.

Joaquin was born in Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, and was brought to the United States at 6 months. He was adopted by his aunt and uncle because his birth mother was not in full capacity to properly take care of him. Unfortunately, they could not fix his legal status, and he was caught in limbo like the rest of us.

On Friday, Joaquin dressed up in a nice suit, kissed his mother and his father goodbye, and then headed straight for the restroom where he shot himself with a small handgun leaving behind his dreams, letting them evaporate into thin air. He wanted to become an engineer. He was going to graduate in May with honors. Just five more months. He had a full ride to many prestigious universities one of them being Texas A&M University, he could’ve been an Aggie, like me, like all my Aggie DREAMer brothers and sisters, and then, he would have found us, we would have found him. But there’s no sense in reminiscing on what could have been. The damage is done, and 2 million other DREAMers have lost a brother and are mourning, all around the country in solidarity with his friends and loved ones.

Maybe it is our fault, for not reaching out to the Valley sooner, for not expanding faster.

“Having a DREAM Act organization in place here in the Valley might’ve helped,” said Marie Mendoza, Joaquin’s cousin. “These kids need a support system, there’s so many of them here, so close to the border.”

Maybe it is the broken immigration system that’s really getting the best of all of us.

“There has to be one president that will do something for undocumented students,” said Mendoza. “One president that can pass the DREAM Act.”

We all feel the way Joaquin did at some point or another, but brothers and sisters in the struggle, this is not the answer. Life for us is pretty sad at times, pretty gray, and uncertain, but something will happen for us. Because no good people ever go unnoticed, because no good fight is ever lost.

Let’s not remember Joaquin for what happened on Friday, let’s remember him for the person he was and for the everlasting impact he has made on all of our lives. As DREAMers let’s remember that the DREAM Act does not define us, and that we are so many other things aside from DREAM. Joaquin was a good person, he was very involved in church, spent a lot of time there, and he was always very respectful. His teachers loved him, he was never any trouble in school or at home, and he was kind-hearted.

“He would take his shirt off his back just to give it to you if you needed it,” his cousin told me.

I didn’t know Joaquin, but I knew his heart, I knew his struggle, I knew his pain. They always tell us that things have to get worse before they get better, but for us, it seems to only get worse. Rest assured, things have to get better. And if this doesn’t soften some hardened hearts, then I don’t know what will. As I’m writing this, it is tough to write it without tearing up.

I didn’t know Joaquin, but I’ve had many late night calls from DREAMers, who are having a total breakdown because they’ve allowed themselves to process in their minds and hearts, what it means to be undocumented in this country. Sometimes, I’ve made those late night calls. As a DREAMer, you can’t let your thoughts wander past hope and belief; past that there’s only uncertainty and emptiness, it’ll drive you mad.

I didn’t know Joaquin, but I am Joaquin.

Tags: Education · Immigration

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 irma // Nov 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I grieve for Joaquin and will certainly use my power of the vote to support politicians who will fight to pass the Dream Act. When I read about Dreamers, I empathize because I know that I was lucky to have been born on the American side of the Rio Grande.
    So, when I got offers of acceptances to college – I was free to take them. My father was an undocumented immigrant for the first 9 years of my life. The same was true for my grandparents for their first 20+ years in the United States.
    When they finally decided to resolve their immigration status – the USA let them stay.
    Remember Joaquin when you cast your vote in 2012 – I know I will.

  • 2 Juan Rodriguez // Nov 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Really sad story…
    Sadly it’s not just Joaquin whose heart stopped, but also all 2 million of our hearts were shattered.
    As a family, we must reach out to all others
    Rest In Peace brother

  • 3 AztlanConnect // Nov 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I am well aware that most of the prominent Latino blogs are shills and supporters of the Obama administration,re-election campaign,because of this sad reality,I do not expect my post to be published here at LPB.I hope I am wrong and not censored.

    No doubt Joaquin’s story is a profoundly tragic one.
    Even though most of us have never met this intelligent,sensitive young man,we nevertheless feel sadness and grief in our own ways.

    All of wish express catharsis in our own unique way.In that sense,I’m no different than anyone else.
    So here it goes…

    We Latinos cannot, and should not,ignore or deny the political source of Joaquin’s suffering and torment.

    I believe in accountability and responsibility in politics.Unfortunately,those are values which are mostly shunned,as they are almost non-existent in modern politics,in both parties.

    White house Obama titere Cecila Muñoz told us straight out..”IT’S ONLY COLLATERAL DAMAGE,EXPECT IT”

    Cecila,why don’t you and your jefe go and tell that to Joaquin’s family!

    My eyes are wide open!
    I can already see what’s coming down the line in election 2012.
    The Obama administrations hateful and destructive Secure Comuunities Act, it’s draconian,almost fascist execution of mass deportations has shattered the lives of more than a million Mexicanos,divided their familias leaving them to unbelievable hardship,misery and despair.

    Yet so many,the vast majority of Latino bloggers,activists and artsists will continue to say to us..
    “it’s ok.. after all it’s OBAMA….it’s OBAMA..”

    It sickens me the recognition that the majority of Latino voters in 2012 will once again be duped and tricked by the con-man Obama with even more of his exquisite false promises,deception and outright lies.

    (I only hope Latinos do not choose their relationships in the same way as they choose politicians (such as Obama for one,after all he is the current POTUS)…liars,cheats,manipulators,abusers..because if they do, there must be millions of Latinos out there involved in screwed-up relationships.)Modern psychology calls this the “Battered partner syndrome” with the other partner being the enabler,empowerer of such abuse.I believe this example also applies to how the DNC,the Democratic Party and the Obama administration treats Latinos.

    Honestly,at times I am astounded at the incredible ignorance,gullibility,naivety of the Latino voter,their capacity to be dupes, to be manipulated.I do not blame most of them for being ignorant or unaware.

    It’s the one’s who should know better that really bother me.

    Neither do I exclude political Latinos,bloggers,writers,artists..etc etc.. from this category of dupes.Many are opportunists,social climbers,marketers who wish to further their career(good example vendida Cecila Munoz who was once head of the NCLR).

    IMHO,those mental weaklings are nothing more than Latino lemmings who support Obama uncritically,foolishly and (treacherously),allowing themselves to be used by the Obama campaign team,they disgust me for the most part for their despicable cowardice,their spineless de facto complicity,capitulation to Obama’s destructive immigration policies.

    These Latinos must be blind and deaf! …Terco hasta la..!!

    Most already know the near catastrophic damage Obama’s policies has
    brought on Mexicanos.Yet they will continue to support him for re-election.
    They in their foolish submissive,spineless support will in fact REWARD Obama with their votes.

    What kind of insanity,moral backsliding is this?…to give this con man another four years to deport another million (or probably more) Mexicanos in his next term,giving himn the power to make Mexicano lives and even worser hell on earth????

    My God..what is wrong with these people?
    It is my opinion that these Latinos are the witless dupes and accomplices,objective enablers of Obama’s draconian treatment of the Mexican people.

    These people by their unthinking support care more about Obama than their own people’s suffering and despair.
    Yet they continue with the lame BS excuse making,apologetics,their stupid defense of the POTUS.

    Being in some state of denial they will look the other way,act stupid,make even more odious excuses for Obama.

    I say to these damn fools..what part of ONE MILLION MEXICANOS and what part of SECURE COMMUNITIES ACT do you not understand???

    This obviously means nothing to them, because no matter how many times you tell them,they will make excuses,facts will go in one ear and out the other.. ..why?..because they will respond in their adoring way ….it’s OBAMA….so it’s ok whatever he does..whatever…it’s OBAMA..

    I doubt Joaquin’s death will ever receive any justice..accountability, responsibilty..tragically many of his own Gente will help to deny him his justice..

    All I have to say is God have mercy on Latinos if they do not wake up in time to see what’s going on .

    Where is the accountability,
    …the responsibility???

  • 4 Patricia // Dec 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Maybe we should just demand Pathway To Immigration component. Period. Let’s March!

  • 5 Anna // Dec 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Re: “It’s the ones who should know better that really bother me.”

    Eva Longoria [What a FOOL]
    raffles herself off for Obama

    WASHINGTON – Actress Eva Longoria says she will have dinner and an “intimate conversation” on how to help U.S. President Barack Obama win reelection in 2012 with the winners of a raffle which people can enter by making at least a small contribution to his reelection campaign.

    Webmaster: Please post this in a timely manner, such as tonight instead of two months from now. Thank you.

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