At a time when the Trump Administration has vilified immigrants, it’s become necessary for this community to take control of its own narrative. And with graduation season fully upon us, Define American – a non-profit media and culture organization – and UndocuMedia have launched the #ImmiGrad hashtag to give immigrants and the children of immigrants a platform to break down harmful stereotypes and to celebrate their accomplishments.

“Graduation is an important day for everyone, but for many children of immigrants, it is the very reason they are in this country,” according to Define American. “We want to celebrate all immigrant graduates and their families and recognize them for achieving this milestone.”

As a result of #ImmiGrad, we have moving accounts of what it’s like to navigate college as an immigrant and about the sacrifices of immigrant parents. Check out 12 of the most heartwarming #ImmiGrad messages below:

1

"All parents want is for their children to have a better future, regardless of what they have to sacrifice."

This one is for all the real Dreamers, the parents. All parents want is for their children to have a better future, regardless of what they have to sacrifice. Parents will face any struggle, discrimination, and adversity that gets in the way so that their children won't have to. Parents will work two jobs so that their children can have backpacks and new shoes every school year. Parents will sell pens in the streets if it means having a meal for their children. And last but not least, parents will swim oceans, break barriers, and cross borders if it means their children can have a chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.. This one is for my parents, for all the immigrant parents, refugee parents, and anyone who is a parent #broncograd

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2

"She left her career and else behind, so that I could have a better future in this country."

In the year 1996 my mother and I came to the United States. She left her career and all else behind so that I could have a better future in this country. From Pre-K to 12th grade I was always aware that I had to go above and beyond in my studies because my status would be an added obstacle in my life. Getting to college was hard. There was nobody to guide me and I didnt know what to expect. Once I got to college things did not get easier. Racism, injustice and society itself worked against me and many others around me. But despite all the obstacles I am eternally grateful for my education and for all that I learned. Im not taking about difficult math equations or answers to scientific questions. I am thankful for learning how to be patient, for learning to understand things and people I didn't understand before. I am also thankful for those who supported me in one way or another. I made her dream come true. Im not here to make anyone feel a certain way. I write this so all who see my post know that anything is possible. My mother always told me anything was possible so long as I was patient and dedicated. It is true. However, the struggle is not over. Things will be difficult still but I know that I will get through anything. Shoutout to my mom.. And to my best friend William for the constant love and support. Wish you were here baby but I know itll all be worth it when you come back home

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3

"The sacrifices that you and mom [made have] paid off."

4

"I owe everything to these two individuals who I have the privilege to call my parents."

5

"I am a product of their hard work, of their sacrifices, and endless love."

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

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6

"I defied the stereotype."

7

"I am proud of my immigrant family and this success is for them."

8

"I am a first-generation Guatemalan immigrant who has gotten to where I am thanks to the struggles and strife my parents put themselves through."

At this time tomorrow, I will officially be graduating from Cal State Northridge, aka CSUN. It is a surreal feeling to look back at the last four years of being an undergrad student to suddenly see that ahead of me lies the rest of my life. Four years of challenges, success, failure, new opportunities, growth, awareness, and most of all, newly cherished and unforgettable people that have marked my life in so many ways. Words don't even begin to describe the honor and gratitude I have to so many of you as friends, colleagues, mentors, and support systems. I feel so incredibly proud to say that I am a first-generation Guatemalan immigrant who has gotten to where I am thanks to the struggles and strife my parents put themselves through to give my siblings and I the opportunities they were not privileged enough to receive. I also would not have been where I am today without having completed the role of a Resident Advisor. As much as I complained about wearing the red bag and answering the flip phone in the tasks of the dreaded duty nights, I would not be pursuing a career in Student Affairs were it not for that very same job. Thank you to all those that have touched my life in one way or another. You've all left an impact on me I will carry wherever I go in life. Soy Latino, soy inmigrante, soy chapín, y esto es por mi familia, mis padres, y mi tierra. HUGE THANKS to @kritzerbabe for these amazing pictures! #ArribaYoMisApasYLaChona #LatinxsRising #OrgulloChapin #firstgen #immigrad #NextStopGradSchool #NortheasternBound

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9

"This is for my parents, who struggles to make ends meet so they made and sold burritos to pay the bills."

This is for my parents, who struggled to make ends meet so they made and sold burritos to pay the bills. For my papi, who was too afraid to submit worker’s comp because he didn’t have an ID, after a metal panel fell on his forehead at work and cut him so deep he blacked out. For my mami, who comes home after a 13 hour work day, feeling pain in her wrists from making the same movement over and over again, and somehow still has energy to clean and feed us. For my sisters who have been in this struggle with me, who have hugged and kissed me when I've felt like giving up, who have always found a way to support and encourage me. So many times I felt like giving up, but I saw how hard my parents worked just so I could go to college. Working overtime, sometimes working two jobs, selling burritos on the side, all with smiles on their faces.
 This is for mi gente. For all the kids who’ve had to translate for their parents with their broken English, for the kids who grew up feeling like they were “ni de aqui, ni de alla”, for the kids who didn’t have cars and had to commute long hours just to get to school or work, for the kids who came home after a long day at school and had to translate a bill or notice to their parents, the kids who crossed the border and suddenly had to grow up and figure out how to navigate a new world full of uncertainty, the parents who work SO DAMN HARD to put food on the table every day, the parents who love us unconditionally, the ones that are willing to do whatever it takes so that their children will have a better future. This is for you. So fuck your 9 digit number, fuck your borders and your walls! We are #HereToStay. #SiSePudo #UndocuGrad #Immigrad #FirstGenerationGrad #UndocumentedandEducated #DreamsWithoutBorders #NiDeAquiNiDeAlla #ProudMexicana #MuxeresChingonxs #ResistandExist #fuckdonaldtrump

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10

"Mindset, desire, dedication, and hard work."

 

11

"I also remember all of those who cheered me 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

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12

"Gracias por sus consejos and for making something out of nothing."

13

"They've made so many sacrifices for me and my 5 brothers and sisters."

14

"Family always comes first."

15

"She's spend her days working to make sure I received an adequate education and adequate lifestyle."