These are the stories of the Papalote Project, as told by the participants.

Mural Project

This mural on Central Avenue is part of a campaign to raise awareness about the Papalote Project, and the impact of our national immigration policy on the children of our community.

Elizabeth M. – 13 years old

I live with my family in Charlotte. My dad was given a voluntary deportation order. It is very sad to know that my dad will have to go back to Mexico. My mom, my sisters and I will stay by ourselves. A lot has affected me because I’m not happy anymore, I just keep thinking about our situation and I can not concentrate in school We’re going to have to move to another house, and I do not want to go to Mexico, since I do not know that country. Although my grandparents say perhaps it is the best solution for us to move to Mexico and they tell me that the police are just arresting and deporting people here. I want my dad to stay with us and be together, but he has to go back to Mexico. I can see my mom is getting sick knowing that my dad has to leave us alone. I am really scared because this can happen to us anytime, and my mom will have to work harder to sustain us.

Cinthya S. – 15 years old

I was born in Charlotte. My parents are from Mexico, and I have two younger sisters.
My father was given a voluntary deportation order, after living in America for more than 25 years in this country. He always payed his taxes. The police arrested him before leaving to work one morning. My dad left his car running for a few minutes while he went up to the apartment for his coffee. My father will be deported this month (November 2012,) after a lengthy court process which has lasted over two years.

I’m sad that we will not be a family anymore. My sisters and I cried a lot, and it hurts me that he is leaving. I’m afraid we will not have his support to survive. I dream of becoming a professional woman and now I feel very weak with no strength to carry on. It hurts me to see my mom sad with no desire to live anymore. We have many economic hardships, and my sisters and I did not want to go to Mexico. America is our country ,the country we know. We have never been to Mexico. My sisters and I suffered a lot, and I think the immigration courts have no feelings, they only care about the money they make for each person arrested. I hope this government will do something to avoid separating families like mine.

Jesus F. – 9 years old

I live with my grandparents because my father died in a work-related accident, and my mother was deported, I have another brother who also lives with us.
I was very young when my mother was deported, I hardly remember her face, I only know what my grandmother tells me. When we were living in Jacksonville Florida, ICE agents took my mom. I talk to my mom only by phone but we are planning to see her next year. She does not want to return to this country and says she is working and studying so that we can be together again, and never be apart. I wish to be like my school friends who have a dad and a mom, and I know that my dad is with God and I can not see him again. I know I will see my mom again. We talk a lot by phone but it is not the same and that’s why we are going to see her. When my grandparents scold me, I wish my mom was here with me. I remembered asking my mom for Christmas if she could visit me, she said that it was not possible. She did not want to get arrested again, because when she was in prison she suffered a lot.

Kaitlyn R. – 11 years old

My uncle was driving to work, and he was stopped by a cop. He did not have a license. The police arrested him and he was deported. My uncle was like my big brother and the last time I saw him was two years ago. It was a very sad day. I remember my uncle going to work one day and he never came back. I was waiting to go to the store with him that night. We used to play together, watched movies, played soccer and wrestling. My uncle loves all his nephews and I learned a lot of things about soccer I did not know before. When he was in the detention center he sent me a letter, with some drawings telling me to do well in school and that he was proud to have a niece like me. I nicknamed him “Pelon” or in English “Baldy.” I liked the sound of it . I wish he would come back and they would stop chasing him, I wish they would leave the people who work hard alone and that the police would stop arresting them. I miss him because he was so good to us all, my cousins ​​and I want my grandmother who is a resident to stop suffering and crying for my uncle. My uncle was in jail for more than two years only because he did not have a driver’s license.

Josue G. M. – 9 years old

My uncle was stopped by the police and deported back to Honduras. He was coming from work and his licensee was expired, and he was arrested . In prison he was abused and he suffered a lot. My mother cries because he is the brother she loved most. My uncle worked hard to help feed my grandparents. I also suffer because I see my mom mourn and she hardly eats. I wish they would stop deportations and give papers to everybody. We are all children of God and he does not make distinctions. I never saw my uncle again and I miss him a lot.

Jose F. – 12 years old

My parents are from Guatemala, they came to Charlotte in 1994. My two parents have been deportarted. My dad was arrested from a traffic ticket when he was coming back  from work. My  mom was given three months for a voluntary departure by immigration.

I have a big sister and the two of us are living in a  foster home.  My mom did not want to take us to Guatemala, because she fears we would get killed there. My mom could not support us and she ask a social worker to find us another family. Now I go to a different school, with different friends and live in a strange house. I feel very sad, I crie a lot and I do not want to go to the new school. My new family is nice,   but it is not the same. They do not hug me or kiss me, like my mom. I just hope my parents can fight the custody from their country so, we can be together. Both my sister and I feel terrible about what happened to them, and many people tell us to be strong to do well in scchool. The truth I do not really care much, although my teacher knows about my parents’ deportation. She keeps encouraging us  to move forward. It’s so hard to concentrate and it makes it hard to study.  I just hope that one day with the help of God , my parents  can return legally without any problem. Although my mom promised that she would send for us …We are still waiting for that day.

Emanuel H. – 7 years old

I was born in Charlotte. I am an american citizen and I did not know that my parentes came  to the United States without  papers in 1995.

My dad was deported in January 2012. I am an only child and my mom has to work hard to provide me with everything I need. She works  long hours and I don’t get to see her much. I don’t have anyone to play soccer with , to help me with homework or anyone who can come to my school events..  It made me very happy when my dad called me on my birthday. My mom told me that I have become an angry and depressed boy.  My grades have gone down and I only want to see my dad again. Sometimes, I wish that I could buy a superman cape to fly and see my dad.