By Rebeca Logan
“Dedication, effort and hard work has always been with my family…We were taught to never give up in life and to always keep moving forward no matter the obstacles we face. I’ve set up goals to become the first in my family to go to college and have fought hard to get to where I stand now.”
These words were written by Joaquín Luna, an 18-year-old Mission, Texas high school senior, aspiring engineer, and talented guitar player, who committed suicide in late November.
According to family members, the day after Thanksgiving, Joaquin dressed up in a suit and tie as if he was going to church, said goodbye, went to the bathroom and shot himself in the head.
He was worried that his plan to go to college would be crushed by his status as an undocumented student, that his dream of setting an example for his siblings and helping his mother financially, would never come true.
After Congress failed earlier this year to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legalization for qualifying students who enrolled in college or joined the military, the dreams of Joaquin and thousands of other young people who grew up in the United States, were once again put on hold.
“His world just closed,” lamented his brother Dire Mendoza. “It’s like all these kids that are here, they’re all dependent on the DREAM Act to keep on studying,” Mendoza said to KGBT 4 news.
You can click here to read the whole story at NEAToday.org or visit NEA’s Legislative Action Center to send an email to your elected officials urging them to support the DREAM Act.