With graduation season in full swing, immigrant graduates and children of immigrants across the country are reflecting on the roads and people who led them to where they are today.
Last week, Define American ― a non-profit media and culture organization― partnered with Undocumedia to put out a call on social media encouraging graduates from immigrant families to share their personal stories using #ImmiGrad. The class of 2017 quickly obliged, posting sweet photos, touching anecdotes and heartwarming messages thanking their parents for their support, dedication and love.
Grab a box of tissues, and check out some of their posts below.
Thank you God for this great accomplishment and a Huge thank you to the best parents ever! Thank you for all the hard work you've put in to make me the person I am today. With out you two this wouldn't never be possible. All that I am and hope to be I owe to you two. Love you mom and dad #pvgradswag #pvamu #pv17 #pvalumni #IMMIGRAD #gradszn #2degrees
A post shared by Kim Aguilar (@kcaguilar02) on
I am a product of their hard work, of their sacrifices, and endless love. My diploma is just as much mine, as it it theirs. My long nights of studying don't even begin to compare to their endless and tired some work, all so I can go to school and not have to worry about anything other than my education. They've crossed physical borders to give me unimaginable opportunities and have ALWAYS placed my education first as well as my well being. Earning my degree and continuing my educational career towards law school is the least could do. So yea, I am a product of hardworking immigrants and im fucking proud of it. Todo lo que hago lo hago por ustedes. Gracias Mom and Dad #csulb #ImmiGrad #productodeinmigrantes #classof2017
A post shared by Jackie Carbajal✨ (@_geejackiee) on
I came to this country when I was 8 years old with the dream of graduating from an American university. This dream became true last Sunday when I graduated from Pomona College with a degree in International Relations. I am thankful for every person who has been there for me during these four years. I am especially grateful for my mother who has worked so hard to provide me with everything I need. Although I am proud to have graduated college, I can’t help but think of others who unfortunately don’t have access to higher education among other things. The systematic oppression of marginalized communities cannot be ignored and I hope that people in positions of power and privilege, including myself, can actively work to change the various structures that oppress communities across the country and the world. #ImmiGrad #UndocGrad
A post shared by Aldair Arriola-Gomez (@aldiarriola) on
Le quiero dar muchas gracias a mis padres por tomar la decisión de emigrar a nuestra familia a “el norte” en busca de nuevas oportunidades. En este país es donde he tenido la oportunidad de encontrar mi pasión y desenvolverme en mi carrera estudiantil y profesional. Gracias por siempre demostrarme que con mucho trabajo, tenacidad, y ganas de crecer uno puedo lograr cada meta que uno se proponga. Ustedes son el mejor ejemplo y los mejores maestros que he tenido. Igual como las mariposas monarcas migran entre México y los Estados Unidos ustedes me han ensenado a conocer nuevos lugares sin nunca olvidar mis raíces. Apa y Ama los quiero mucho y gracias por todo su apoyo, y como siempre me han recomendado (regañado) al fin me puse las pilas! Y cuando me vean volar recuerden….usted me pintaron las alas! I’d like to thank my parents for taking that life changing decision of immigrating to America in search for better opportunities. In the US I have had the opportunity to find my true passion and develop both my student and professional roles. Thanks for always demonstrating that with hard work, persistence, and aspirations to grow one can achieve any goal one proposes. You are the best role models and teachers I’ve had. And just as the monarch butterflies migrate between Mexico and the US, you have taught me to seek adventure in new places without forgetting where I came from. Apa y Ama I love you guys and thanks for your support, and as you have always advised me (scolded me) finally I got my act together! And when you see me fly high remember….you painted my wings! #immigrad #mexican #master #msg #gerontology #csulb
A post shared by MSG (c) (@insta_gabee) on
30 years ago my parents carried their firstborn across El Rio on a lanchita, with the aspiration that one day their children would have a life different than theirs. Graduating from college is insignificant compared to the hardships my parents have endured. I will never be able to repay them for everything they have given my sisters and myself. No hay un día que pasa en que no pienso en todos los sacrificios que mis padres han hecho por mis hermanas y yo. Everything I do, is with them in mind. As an artist, my parents' resilience and spirit is an art form I will never be able to recreate or achieve in my lifetime. I am the fruit of their hard labor and determination, just like the fruit picked with their callused hands. When I say "borders ain't shit," I mean it con todo mi corazón. My existence and that of other immigrant children is a testament to our parents' resistance. The border does not define us. The border did not stop us, because borders ain't shit compared to us. ✊ ✊ ✊ ✊ ✊ . . . . . . #LatinxGradCaps #Latinx #Immigrad #SecondGenerationImmigrant #Graduation #CSUF #Loteria #Chicano #Xicano
A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀F-Land (@f_land711) on
Took on this wild journey to make my dreams come true and now I'm graduating!! I owe this success to my family and friends who believed in me and supported me #SiSePudo ❣️Shoutout to the coolest Photog for the pics @cb_ginger_ thanks for ur awesomeness #Immigrads #LatinxGradCaps #SiSePudo #ididit #Grad2k17 #DreamsDontHaveBorders #FirstGeneration #EducatedWoman #Chemist #UndocumentedandEducated #HereToStay #DreamScholar #UndocuGrad #TheFirstButNotTheLast #MimiMovement #CSULBGrad
A post shared by Minué (@miinue) on
Growing up, I never imagined going to college because of my undocumented status. I graduated high school in 2010 and immediately started working. After three years of busting my ass off at a Mexican restaurant, I realized that I needed to go back to school. So, I enrolled into college and busted my ass off , while still working full time . This Friday, I'll be walking down that stage for my Bachelor's degree. I am so proud of myself. Si se pudo!!!!!! Photo credits: @rs_f0to #ImmiGrad #mommawemadeit #csustanislaus #1stgenerationgrad #undocumedia @undocumedia
A post shared by Yesenia (@yesig_) on
The cap says it all ft. @hatecopy Today, my brother and I celebrate our crown givers, our immigrant parents. Today we graduated. We're not living the American Dream, we're living the Immigrant Dream. I never imagined my father would sacrifice his health for me so that I could get an education. During my first semester at Sac State, my father was diagnosed with a diabetic eye disease. I cannot express to you the guilt I felt after finding out. My father did not want to spend a dime on his health because he wanted to put my brother & I through school. My father suffered in silence, he kept his vision troubles to himself until one day he almost crashed his truck into oncoming traffic. My father does not have the most glamorous job. He is a farm worker that loves what he does, but with diabetes it is hard to love a job that is harsh on your body. I feel as if God has a special way of nudging us in life. If God didn't step in when he did then today my father would be blind; meaning my father wouldn't have been able to see my brother and I walk across the stage. I will be honest, I am amazed at how I got here today, but then again I know why I am here today. If my father could push through the pain, as I know he did –then I can easily place a college degree in his hardworking hands. Our parents suffer in silence so we can be blessed with success. On many occasions, I have held my father when his blood sugar was too low. On many occasions, I have been a witness to his pain. On many occasions, I have felt guilty because I wished to be the one suffering instead. When I say that I am proud to be the daughter of immigrants, I do not say this lightly. I am charmed to the moon to say that I will be the first person out of my family to go to grad school this fall. These last 5 years have been a journey, but we made it Ma & Dad! Much love & Light to the class of 2017 P.S @SacState this daughter of immigrants still has more to offer, see you in the fall ______________ #StingersUp #MadeAtSacState #SacState #GradCap #GradSchool #Immigrants #Indian #India #SouthAsian #Sikh #Graduation #Diabetes #Diabetic #SacstateGrad #immigrad
A post shared by Jassi Bassi (@jassi.kbassi) on
They've made so many sacrifices for me and my 5 brothers and sisters. And this is only one way I can repay them for all they've given up so that we can have more in this life. I will forever be indebted to them and I only hope to be as good a daughter to them as they have been parents to me. Para mis padres, para mi familia, y para mi gente. ✊ #csusm2017 #educatedlatina #guatemalangrad #latinxgradcaps #latinxgrads #immigrad
A post shared by María (@twinone_) on
Tribute to my familia There are not enough words of gratitude so say to my mamá today….I'm so thankful for all she's done; For all her sacrifices beginning with our migration out of Ecuador, leaving our entire family behind to a place only seen in movies, not knowing the language and living in an unfamiliar environment full of people from different cultures (WNY, NJ). Yes, it is true that I accomplished this higher degree of education , but I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for my Mamita. Her hard work and patience is admirable, raising two kids on her own and both with a M.S. degrees out of #iowastateuniversity. My motivation has always been my mamá and it will continue to be as I continue onto pursuing a PhD. Este logro es para usted mamita linda, Por todos sus sacrificios al inmigrar a este país y por todo lo que usted a hecho por nosotros! La amo con toda mi alma. Seguimos Pa'Lante ! Inspired by @culturestrike 's art Done by my PiC @rcorona93 Migration is Beautiful #latinxgradcaps #migrationisbeautiful #cultureStrike #Familia # #EducatedLatina #Latinx #IMMIGRAD #DefineAmerican #latinarebels #Guerrera #AlwaysADreamer
A post shared by ⚽️ ➡️@drogo_the_sheprador (@mabe420) on
And just like that, 3 years later I accomplished one of my biggest dreams despite the fact that I was once gullible enough to believe I wouldn't since I was labeled "undocumented". I defied the stereotype, graduated a year earlier, and still have yet to continue my professional journey. The battle doesn't stop now. #classof2017 #graduation #immigrad #immigrads #heretostay
A post shared by Ana Cuevas (@anabananaz8) on
Today I was able to participate in Chicano commencement with my family and friends. This accomplishment isn't for me, but for my entire family who has sacrificed so much for me to have the opportunities that they didn't. For my Grandpa Cruz who is watching over my family from heaven. Although he's no longer on earth, my dad still embodies his spirit in the sombrero he wears, a sombrero that once belonged to mi Abuelo. For my Grandmas who I love and miss dearly. Strong Mexican women that have raised strong children, and survived battles including poverty, illness, and cancer. For my parents, que dejaron sus vidas en la Tierra de Mexico, para dar nos la opportunidad de un sueno Americano. Who crossed the most dangerous of frontiers so that all of their children could cross the stage. And for all Unapologetic sons and daughters of immigrants across the nation that show Donald Trump that we are some #badhombres and #chingonas that are here to stay. Si se pudo. #politicalscience #2017 #csub #badhombre #heretostay #immigrad #CSUBgradcap @undocumedia
A post shared by Randy Villegas (@randy43841) on
Immigrants make America great! I remember the extra hours after school learning English. I remember all the teachers and classmates who said I was "good.. for a Mexican." I remember the long nights filling out scholarship applications. I remember all those who didnt have the opportunity I did to pursue further education. I also remember all of those who cheered me on. My mom and dad working long nights to keep food on the table. Teachers and peers who double checked my applications to make sure I didn't have silly grammatical errors. I remember it all. For those who can relate. Si se puede. Remember that hard-working, dedicated, and passionate immigrants, make America great. #ImmiGrad #sf #heretostay #mexico #usa #sisepuede #badhombre
A post shared by Uriel Zarate (@zarate_805) on
— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.