Maria was just like a lot of women her age. At 19 she wanted to finish college and enter the life of an adult ready to face the world. It was a world full of change and uncertainty, but she could manage. She had always managed before. Before college she had experienced no real challenges in high school or before that. She was smart and self confident. She was articulate and had a command of English beyond her peers. Life had been good to her.
Maria’s memories went back to her early childhood. She remembered playing with her neighbor friends in the suburbs of friendly Salem, Oregon. Her parents owned a small Mexican food restaurant that they had run since as long as she could remember. Even though they told stories to her of their Mexican heritage, they told her that they had dreamed of a better life in America and had moved their just before she was born. Her parents made a pact with each other to speak only English to Maria from the time she was born to help her feel just like any other American girl or boy without the potentially traumatizing stigma associated with being a Mexican immigrant in the American culture of the 2000’s. Maria’s English was impeccable.