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  • Valeria Obregon

Memorial to the Unidentified



For my public speaking class, we needed to write a speech we needed to give in an important event about any topic we were passionate about. When they assigned me this task it was very easy for me to know that I wanted to talk about migration, and more specifically, the concept of 'being illegal' in a place.


I was born and raised in Mexico a country that has a lot of emigration to the US as well as immigration from countries in Central America. I have observed with my own eyes xenophobia from foreigners towards Mexican immigrants and I have also observed my own Mexican friends and family saying xenophobic comments against immigrants in our country.


The setting of my speech in a memorial to the migrants that have passed away trying to cross the US Mexico border in 2019, I hope you enjoy it.


Link to the audio of the speech


514 migrants were registered to have passed away trying to cross the border between Mexico and the US in 2019, this amount was registered in August so this number has probably increased by now.


We are so use to dehumanizing numbers to the point that 500 may not seem like a lot of people, but it is important to understand how this number affects many more.


514 families still don’t know if their relative is alive or death and are waiting for a call they will never receive.


514 kids were left without a parent


514 families were broken apart and will never be together again.


The journey for these migrants is expensive, long, and extremely dangerous, some people call it a suicidal mission. So why would anyone go through this? This is an act of love and sacrifice, but it is as well a scream of help, their living conditions and their lack of opportunities to provide their families a good life is so small they are willing to risk it all for a very remote possibility.


So I ask every one of you, how can someone making this huge sacrifice be considered a criminal? They didn’t choose the place in which they were born and they didn’t choose the challenges and difficulties they had in their lives, but what they did choose was to do something about it, they didn’t stay with their arms crossed, instead they looked for an alternative and went for it. And this is an act of bravery which needs to be recognize.


Every one of these migrants left their home with a dream… a dream they didn’t manage to achieve, and not only that but because of this dream they end up buried in a common grave and registered as an unidentified person. That is why we are all here today, to commemorate this brave people and their last act of love.


And the best way we can commemorate them is by stop spreading hate,


Let’s stop xenophobia.


Let’s put our political, economic, religious interest aside for one moment,


They and us are not different in any way possible, we were just born lucky,


So next time you are going to sympathize with a politician, next time you are going to express an opinion about migrants, or simply next time you have the opportunity to stop spreading hate.


Remember we are all on the same side…on the side of humanity,


Finally, I want to ask for a minute of silence for all the migrants that have lost their life in the journey, not only in the Mexican border but all around the world


Thank you.

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