May 27 marks a historic day: Larry King ended his radio show in 1994; Britain agreed to return Hong Kong to China in 1997; UCLA won their 7th NCAA basketball championship under Coach John Wooden. On this unique date, I popped the question to a very special and important person, my-then girlfriend, now fiancé, Jane.
I always felt a huge rush every time I gave a speech in front of hundreds and thousands of people. But proposing to Jane was the most nerve-wracking. Was I not ready?
What was most important was that she said “Yes”. And I was forever grateful and indebted to her.
But up until this very moment, I actually felt awful the entire day. I reflected back on my DREAM Act activism the past three years: sharing my testimony for the first time in public at City Hall; speaking in front of 25,000 people at May Day; driving to Washington D.C. from Los Angeles for the Campus Progress National Conference; appearing in numerous rallies and radio stations across the nation; and being featured in C-SPAN, CNN, Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and the White House blog. I enjoyed every moment sharing my story and inspiring other students to fight for the DREAM Act. We came so close to passing it last December. Having said all this, I felt like I was betraying the movement and millions of students in my situation.
I questioned whether marrying Jane was the “right” thing to do. Will people consider me a traitor? Will I still be able to continue to share my story locally and nationally? How? Am I leaving fellow undocumented students in the shadow?
Hundreds of questions cluttered my head throughout the day. I talked to my close friends, like Nancy Meza, who supported my decision and urged me to suppress my pride. I thanked my friends for their support. After contemplating about my decision, I decided to pop the question. The deciding factor was my love for Jane. We are ready and excited to embark on a new journey together. People in many circumstances take different paths in life – we made the decision to marry a bit earlier than the rest of our peers.
This movement and the millions of undocumented students have shaped me into who I am today. I will continue my activism, remain as chair of ASPIRE at UCLA next academic year, and keep fighting for the DREAM Act.
This was originally posted at NAKASEC. We thank them for their permission, and David's to post this here.