By Zinnia Khan, Staff Writer
// Doris Anahi Muñoz shared her experiences growing up in a family of undocumented immigrants in the United States with community members during a virtual conversation on Wednesday Oct. 12.
Leadership and the Acalanes Parents Club hosted the event in hopes to share Muñoz’s unique story as a Latiné artist and individual with firsthand experience with immigration. A little over 80 students, staff, and parents attended the event.
“She has such an incredible story, just really inspiring. I feel like it’s something you don’t always hear about very often, especially from an immigrant’s perspective,” student facilitator and junior Zoya Acuña said.
Muñoz began by describing key moments of her childhood as an undocumented immigrant. Muñoz was the first of her family to be born in the United States. When she was 22 years old when her brother José, who was born in Mexico, was deported.
“I’m not that well versed in immigration issues and legal statuses and what she was saying about [her family] spending thirty years in limbo-land, while not being legal but still here seemed really traumatic and scary for her,” Junior Gabe Gardener said.
Muñoz’s first project was a concert series called “Solidarity for Sanctuary” which she created in order to raise funds for the American citizenship applications for her parents. With the success of her series, Muñoz was able to complete the $12,000 application process for her parents.
“[My parents] had been in this legal limbo for years, and so here I was trying to fight for an opportunity to become their cosponsor,” Muñoz said. “That’s just the vicious cycle that undocumented folks live in, is that they are exploited for their labor, still have to pay taxes, but don’t receive a single benefit that this country has to give.”
Muñoz’s story is the subject of a new Disney Original Documentary Mija, planned to premiere this January. Mija follows the lives of Muñoz and Jacks Haupt, another Mexican immigrant, and how they utilized their musical careers to help provide for their families.
“[Through working on this film] I finally unlocked something where at first I felt like I was the only person that looked like me in these rooms, and then all of the sudden we created space so that we didn’t have to feel alone, there were tons of us,” Muñoz said.
Leadership hoped that students would be able to learn from Muñoz’s message on success.
“Doris can relate to young people through her experience in high school, trying to do everything in order to be successful, incredibly resilient to keep moving forward, and her hustle to meet her dream,” Leadership teacher Kathrine Walton said. “I was in awe of her ability to navigate that, to press on, to keep her eyes on her dream and now look where she is-destined for greatness.”
Students valued hearing about Muñoz’s diverse background and viewpoint, which they have not frequently learned about.
“My whole family immigrated to the United States, and definitely hearing it from a more first hand perspective is very interesting. She mentioned that it was something that no one talks about and you never hear about, so I feel like talking about it and hearing her story was really inspiring,” Acuña said.