Contributed by Kim Tremblay, Associate Attorney
Last month, many of us at the Joseph Law Firm had the chance to go see Just Like Us, the play based on Helen Thorpe’s book about four Latina teenagers, two of them documented, two of them not, and how their friendship and lives have been affected by this status. The play is also set in the wider context of the struggle for immigrant rights and immigration reform in Colorado and the United States. Fellow attorney Jennaweh Leyba and I had the added privilege of attending a dinner after the play during which the cast and crew discussed the creative process of the play and their personal experiences with immigration. The play was fun and entertaining while being thought provoking and accurate about immigration issues and their complexity, a fact very much appreciated by the immigration attorneys in attendance.
One of the main themes in the play is the struggles of young immigrants who came to the United States as children. For example, the two main undocumented characters had to surmount many obstacles to attend college. Despite their exceptional performance in school, they were not able to obtain federal financial aid or school sponsored scholarships because of their status. Thankfully, the girls were some of the lucky few able to obtain help from private donors to finance their education. Although this play had a happy ending, there are thousands of students across the country who have potentially bright futures obscured by their status. Moreover, the characters still faced the struggle of finding work after graduation despite their status. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program is but a temporary solution for them. I hope that the viewers of the play will not only think about the complexities of immigration, but be inspired to take action and pressure members of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform as well. After the government shutdown was resolved last month, President Obama stated that he was renewing efforts to pass immigration reform; members of the House of Representatives are currently working on a bill regarding immigration, which will have to be reconciled with the Senate version passed earlier this summer. Now may be the time to speak up!
It is not too late to see the play, it runs until November 4 at the State Theater:
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