September 26 2014

I was born and raised in Mexico City, near the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where I lived with my grandparents after I was born. My parents divorced when I was a baby, and my mother began working long hours as a cook to support us. Four years after my parents divorced, my mother married a man who lived in Tijuana; she moved to the border town with her new husband and I stayed in Mexico City with my grandparents. Eventually, my mother relocated to Southern California and lives here now in her Santa Ana home.

I recall my earliest childhood as happy, dividing my time between living with my grandparents and visiting my mother in Tijuana. When I was 7 years old, I moved there to live with her and my stepfather.  But then I was sexually abused by someone in the community and returned to Mexico City at age 9.  The years afterward were exceptionally difficult; I entered adolescence – a confusing time – suffering from post- traumatic stress disorder.  When I entered the 8th grade, I tried to kill myself by overdosing on pills.  Obviously, I did not succeed and tried to kill myself a second time by mixing pills with alcohol.

At age 15, I visited my mother while on vacation. She had relocated from Tijuana to California and asked if I wanted to attend school there. I accepted, but encountered great difficulty as I did not speak English. There were many gangs and gun violence, and the environment was so different from the life I knew in Mexico. I became a rebellious teen and did not really know my mother as I had spent most of my childhood with my grandparents. I was very much afraid of the violent community and by age 16 I returned to Mexico City.

In Mexico, I began working to support myself while also attending school. I worked two jobs; one as a waitress at a restaurant where my grandfather worked, and a second organizing books at an editorial office. I didn’t have much clarity then about a career path, although I was attracted to marketing. I prayed I could continue to study, but became pregnant with my first child and left high school with only one year left to graduate.

I have since left Mexico and begun a new life with my children in Santa Ana, California. I’ve made many new friends and have a purpose in life that keeps me very busy. I hope you will watch this video to see the rest of my story.

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