Guest post by Gregg Witkin
Baja Stone* is a 17 year old student at Boynton High School in San Jose, California. Originally from Mexico, she was brought here illegally by her mom when she was 6 years old, and has been here since. She lives with her mom and 13 year old brother (who was born in the United States) in a tiny one bedroom apartment. She and her mom clean houses to make a living, and they are constantly afraid about being sent back to Mexico because their entire lives are now here in the United States.
As an illegal resident, Baja struggled to find a place in the US education system and achieve success. Her lack of English hurt her, but because of caring teachers, both bilingual and not, she learned English and is in a better position than most of her peers to understand the world around her. Because of this Baja has dedicated herself to her education and achievement, which is why she is excited about her upcoming film project.
Her film is about illegal immigration and the perceptions of both illegal residents and legal residents alike to the problem and solutions created by illegal immigration. With the debate raging on topics like The Dream Act, ICE raids, and anchor babies, Miss Stone’s film is timely and will provide a good student perspective to the controversy.
Baja’s film will explore the notion of birth rights vs. earned rights for non citizens through the eyes of a 17 year old who considers herself American. As someone who was not asked what country she wanted to live in, Baja feels that our concepts of citizenship must be examined and amended to take into account the rights of those who were not capable of making decisions.
She hopes to use this film as a springboard to other projects she is considering when she moves on to college, if that becomes a possibility. She is excited that Adobe Youth Voices has given her the opportunity to explore this topic in depth and contribute her voice to the debate.
Adobe Youth Voices Master Educator
*Student’s name has been changed to protect her identity