September 24, 2023
  • 12:08 pm Fall Convocation 2022: “The State of this University is Strong”
  • 9:37 pm Ogrin Brings the Thunder in Toros 12-3 rout; team plays for playoff championship tomorrow
  • 7:00 am Outstanding Professor Award Recipient’s Mic Drop Moment at Last Month’s Virtual Ceremony
  • 9:10 am Bookworms of the World Unite!
  • 7:46 pm Breaking News: All Students Living in Campus Housing Required to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
  • 9:00 am CSUDH Esports Creates International Competition
  • 9:35 am Spring Commencement Ceremonies Get Brighter
  • 3:46 pm Breaking News: Spring Commencement Ceremonies Recieve Stadium Upgrade
  • 8:00 am Testing the Teachers (and All the Educators)
  • 9:30 am CSUDH Educators and School Employees, Vaccinated Next
  • 10:30 am For White People Only: Anti-Racism Workshop Addresses Racial Bias and Unity
  • 2:43 pm Greatness Personified: Remembering Kobe Bryant
  • 10:02 am Straight Down the Chimney and Into Your (Digital) Hands: Special Holiday Edition of The Bulletin!
  • 2:44 pm Did You Wake up Looking this Beautiful?
  • 11:43 am A Long History for University’s Newest Major
  • 5:15 pm Issue 5 of Bulletin Live! Collector’s Item! Worth its Weight in Digital Paper!
  • 4:06 pm Special Election Issue
  • 4:03 pm Three best Latinx Halloween & Horror Short Films available now on HBO Max
  • 9:49 am Issue 3 of CSUDH Bulletin Live if You Want It
  • 3:24 pm Hispanic Heritage Month Update
  • 2:00 pm South Bay Economic Forecast Goes Virtual
  • 3:52 pm BREAKING NEWS: Classes for Spring to be Online, CSU Chancellor Announces
  • 9:39 am “Strikes” and Solidarity
  • 8:30 am March Into History: Just 5 in 1970, CSUDH Growth Shaped by Historic Event
  • 8:30 am Will the Bulletin Make Today Tomorrow?
  • 9:04 am Different Neighborhoods Warrant Rubber Bullets or Traffic Control For Protesters
  • 5:07 pm STAFF EDITORIAL: Even Socially Distant, We All Have to Work Together
  • 5:47 pm Transcript of CSUDH President Parham’s Coronavirus Announcement
  • 10:46 am Cal State Long Beach Suspends Face-to-Face Classes; CSUDH Discussing Contingency Plans
  • 5:26 pm Things Black People Should be Able to Get Away with This Month
  • 10:25 am Latinx Students Need a Place to Call Home
  • 2:35 pm Will Time Run Out Before Funds for PEGS? [UPDATED]
  • 8:41 am Year of the Rat? What’s That?
  • 6:20 am Artist Who Gave Life to Death and Inspired Countless Others Gets His Due at Dominguez Hills
  • 5:16 pm Why I’m Rooting for Dr. Cornel West
  • 5:00 pm Under Fire from the Feds, Vaping’s Future is Cloudy
  • 3:28 pm We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat; Tsunami 3.0 Hits Campus, Enrollment Swells
  • 4:48 pm University Weathering a Wave of New Students
  • 9:21 pm The Bulletin’s Public Records Request Offers Springboard to Launch Gender Equity Discussion at CSUDH
  • 4:27 pm Black is the New Black: Raising the Capital on the “B” Word
  • 10:53 am Guns Up for Arrest: Student advocacy group pushes for CSU No Gun Zones–Including the Police
  • 4:09 pm Staff Editorial: Words on the First
  • 8:42 pm Carson Mayor Blasts Media, Landmark Libel Case in Keynote Address
  • 9:27 am Free Speech Week Calendar of Events Update
  • 6:02 am Food for Thought: 40% of Students are Food Insecure
  • 3:12 pm Academic Senate Rejects CSU GE Task Force & Report
  • 3:06 pm Work To Be Done
  • 5:56 pm ASI Elections: What You Need to Know
  • 8:02 pm CSUDH President Parham Announces Cancer Diagnosis
  • 9:47 am CSUDH Art Professor’s 20-Year Journey Results in First Local Showing of Film
  • 9:13 pm Free Speech or Free Hate area?
  • 9:08 pm CSUDH’s Best & Brightest Shine at Student Research Day
  • 9:05 pm Academic Senate Approves Gender Equity Task Force
  • 12:37 pm When Dr. Davis speaks, Toros Pay Close Attention
  • 3:38 pm Investing in the Future: Dr. Thomas A. Parham Reflects on the Past Eight Months and Contemplates​ the University’s Future
  • 3:24 pm Green Olive to Open By End of Feb; Starbucks Not Until Fall
  • 3:20 pm Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Hailed for Extensive Funding Increases
  • 3:08 pm Out of the Classroom: Labor and Community Organizing Course Aims to Teach Students How to Organize for Social Justice
  • 2:54 pm The Other Route in Professional Sports
  • 9:02 am Hail to the New Chief, CSUDH President Thomas Parham
  • 3:36 pm Career Center Holds Major/Minor Fair
  • 5:34 pm After Unexpected Delay, Undocumented Becomes More Intimate Theatrical Production
  • 1:30 pm What to Expect When You’re Expecting New Buildings
  • 7:49 pm CSUDH offers qualified students free laptops
  • 1:17 pm Peaches, Peaches, Peaches
  • 1:14 pm Bonner Crowned: The Fearless Leader
  • 1:10 pm A Legacy Defined: Cilecia Foster
  • 1:03 pm The Toros Sweep Stanislaus State, Start CCAA Championships 

 In her new book, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio shares many stories, including those of her family. Illustration by Nova Blanco-Rico.

By Destiny Torres, Contributor

Joaquín crossed the desert between Mexico and the United States four times. His first steady job was on a boat in New York City where he saw planes crash into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Without hesitation, his employer rounded up Joaquín and the other men to head back to the city to help. 

For two weeks, Joaquín along with other undocumented men and women, were in and out of Ground Zero, helping wherever they could. Then one day, his boss fired him and the other workers, making them sign contracts that most of them couldn’t read. 

The next day, he huddled on a street corner at the break of dawn with other Black and brown day laborers who waited for possible employers looking for electrical, plumbing and other construction help.

In 2001, Joaquín and others like him faced racism, long workdays with no breaks, and often completed projects without getting paid.

Flash forward to the present day and little has changed. Millions of undocumented workers still endure conditions like this, and their stories are still ignored.

In her non-fiction book, “The Undocumented Americans,” Karla Cornejo Villavicencio takes back the narrative and tells the stories of undocumented folks living in America for the past 20 years whose perspectives are often untold because they don’t fit the American Dream myth. 

Villavicencio, who was once undocumented, is a Harvard University graduate and is now studying at Yale for her doctorate degree. In her book, she recalls being asked to write a memoir about herself, to talk about her success story as an undocumented woman studying at an elite university. 

Despite her successes in life, Villavicencio didn’t want to be another poster child for the DREAMer movement. She writes that as much as she appreciates the work that undocumented activists are doing, she wanted to tell the stories of people who don’t get hashtags or T-shirts.

“I wanted to tell the stories of people who work as day laborers, housekeepers, construction workers, dog walkers, delivery men,” Villavicencio writes in her introduction. 

That is exactly what she did when she talked to people in New York about the physical and mental effects of their jobs cleaning up after Sept. 11. Villavicencio goes to Miami, Florida where she talks about undocumented peoples’ use of herbal medicine because they cannot afford or receive healthcare. She travels to Flint, Michigan where she speaks with frustrated undocumented people who were the last to become aware of the toxicity of their water. 

In her book, Villavicencio wanted to tell stories that showed the hard truth of being undocumented in this country without beautifying it with examples of success and education because that is not that case for most people. 

Villavicencio’s issue with the portrayal of undocumented people is that they are glorified as workers to be more pleasant sounding, as though they can be nothing else. 

“I’ve heard them call us ‘undocumented workers’ as a euphemism, as if there was something uncouth about being just an undocumented person,” she writes. “We were brown bodies made to labor, faces pixelated.” 

CSUDH Professor Michael Fraga teaches a Chicano/a studies course called Mexican and Latino Identities in the U.S. He said undocumented people in America are misunderstood, and that all generations of immigrants have to face nativist anti-immigrant Americans.

In his course, he teaches the history of   immigration, like how many Mexicans were displaced after the Mexican-American War. Even then, he said, Americans who do not consider history do not understand the immigrant experience. 

Professor Fraga explained that Americans with a nativist attitude see themselves as being superior to immigrants, so they treat them as inferiors. 

“Mainstream media either glamorize [immigrants] or show their racist character,” Professor Fraga said. “In her book, [Villavicencio] is trying to bring a voice to the voiceless.” 

One of my favorite things about her storytelling is seeing how dedicated Villavicencio became to the lives of the people she talked about. 

She had coffee and donuts with the day laborers every morning for about a year. She was in constant communication with the people she wrote about whether that meant checking in with a text message or late-night phone calls about anything and everything. 

Her devotion to learning these stories and making sure she gets every detail right is inspiring and is what makes her book so powerful. 

There are not many books that do these stories or these people justice. Villavicencio does an outstanding  job with her book for its honesty, personal commentary, and captivating storytelling. 

For these reasons, “The Undocumented Americans” is rightly a National Book Award finalist this year. Villavicencio is currently in the middle of writing another book and since I was so enamored by this one, I can’t wait to see what else she has in store. 


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