Making a difference


provided by Brenda Martinez

Senior, Brenda Martinez taking a picture with Freshman, Zachary Jewitt

Brenda Martinez is a Senior at Round Lake High School. She loves to inform students and people outside of school about the struggles that undocumented students have to go through in their everyday life. Martinez wants to let students know all about undocumented students and immigration and help stop all of the stereotypes that are given to immigrants. In order to spread awareness on this issue, Martinez is a part of the We Dream Club and the Lake County Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals. We Dream Club is a school club that helps undocumented students take the opportunity to go to college. Lake County DACA Council is similar to We Dream Club, but goes into more depth and teaches the students a little bit more. The club at Mano a Mano also does community projects that take place all over town and also goes to festivals, events and community presentations and informs the people all about the club and about undocumented students.

Martinez is involved in We Dream Club. In We Dream Club students come up with a variety of projects but the most important one that the club has done is, National Educators Coming Out Day. National Educators Coming Out Day is when teachers held up signs that said “I am an unafraid educator with and for undocumented students.” National Educators Coming Out Day helps and supports students that are undocumented. “I think that teachers should be involved once again with the National Educators Coming Out Day because last year it taught many of [the teachers] about the struggles that undocumented students go through,” Martinez said. “It also made undocumented students feel safe to talk to their teachers about many of the problems that they were facing since the teachers were showing great support.”We Dream Club hung up several pictures of teachers posing with a sign that read, “I am an unafraid educator with and for undocumented students.” “I noticed that a lot of the students were going up to the bulletin board where all of the pictures were and would comment on how neat it was,” Martinez said. ”It was obviously eye opening to others, and it caught people’s attention. I think it helped undocumented students feel supported and comfortable to talk to their teachers about their problems.” Martinez looked very proud to be part of We Dream Club while I was interviewing her. Her eyes sparkled with enthusiasm.

Out of school, Martinez goes to Mano a Mano, to a club called Lake County DACA Council and learns more about the struggles that the undocumented students go through. She also helps out around the community and goes to events and talks to others about immigration and undocumented students. While talking to Brenda about this after school club that she is in, once again she was really passionate talking about this topic and knew that she really loved talking about this. “Right now we started a new project with Mano a Mano. We are basically going to come up with an art project that we will then exhibit.We were thinking of having a sanctuary full of pictures, objects and memories of what we left behind and sacrifices that our families had to make and things that represent our culture.” Martinez said. Martinez looked really passionate while talking about this project,she seemed very proud to be part of this big project that will be made in the near future.

”Why do you think it is important to have majority of the school involved in knowing all about immigration and the struggles that undocumented students go through in their everyday life?” “I think it is important for students to know the struggles that undocumented students have to go through so that the typical stereotype is eliminated, and so that everyone can show a little bit more respect. They do not realize that immigrants come from all over the world, the majority of people believe that immigrants are just only the ‘Mexican picking tomatoes’ but in reality,they are normal people, they might even be your neighbors. Although the larger percentage of immigrants come from Mexico,they also come from Asia, India and basically anywhere in the world. There also seems to be a lot of people against immigrants because of past incidents.One immigrant commits a crime, and all of sudden it makes us all rapists. One immigrant gets a low paying job,and they accuse us of stealing jobs. Then an immigrant does an amazing life changing act,and no one talks about it. So it is important for people to realize that we need respect as well.” Martinez said.

Brenda Martinez only being a Senior in High School,and being this committed in trying to make a huge difference to help at school, and out of school with problems to do with immigration and help undocumented students, just shows how determined she is in making a difference.