My name is Gabrielle, and I am originally from the twin isle nation of Trinidad and Tobago. I first came to this country with my mother and younger sister in the early 1990’s, at the age of 9. We migrated to the U.S to be with our family and to get a fresh start, away from hardship and trauma.
Being undocumented came with years of confusion, anxiety, and fear, and managing all that while assimilating and blending into the African American community. I felt like I was in a crowd sharing in the Blackness around me, but alone in the secret of not having legal immigration status. In November 2012, while awaiting the decision on my Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application, I came out of the shadows. Despite feeling fearful, I was motivated to publicly reveal my status because I needed to stand up and speak out and take ownership of my identity, even if just for the mere purpose of letting others know they were not alone.
As a Black undocumented immigrant, you can feel alone and erased from the current immigration reform debate, but also glossed over in the discussion surrounding the pursuit of justice in the Black Lives Matter narrative. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that this has sometimes left me asking myself, “where do I fit in?” I was so excited about The Undocumented & Black Convening, because it meant examining and addressing the intersection of our Blackness and immigrant experiences, as we gathered in fellowship, organized, and developed a network that will finally carve out a place for me and others to fit in. Consequently, I am excited and hopeful about the UndocuBlack Network.