Hello, my name is Nova M Bajamonti and this is MY story.
Undocumented and Unafraid, on April 17, 2014, I spoke about MY glass ceiling by publicly coming out as undocumented to non other than Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton for the very FIRST time.
I became the activist I ALWAYS dreamt of becoming and a leader who has been inspired by SO many before me. I feel LIBERATED, EMPOWERED, AND FEARLESS to share my story and help represent The DREAM ACT. I've been SO OVERWHELMED by the support I've received from Hillary Clinton (I had to pinch myself when she said I was incredibly brave!!!), sweet strangers, to major news outlets who have interviewed me and are helping spread the word on immigration reform. I'm confident that ONE DAY we'll be united here with ALL different backgrounds.
I know that when media has a hold on a story, things can get twisted and it can become a game of Telephone. I've recognized how the media portrays the juiciest, most FALSE story in order to catch ratings and the morality of it is slowly deteriorating.
I came her LEGALLY, yet the media says WRONGFULLY that I came here illegally. What does that show us? That even when someone is SAYING and STATING their story, that goes over people's heads, and instead they get stereotypes about what an immigrant "is" to them, and they go off in a hurry to write their stories with false information. Journalists AREN'T organically listening. From these articles, we can see the projectivism in the text.
So...here it is:
I was born in Split, Croatia, and I came here to the USA LEGALLY with my parents when I was five years old. My mom was a recognized artist in Croatia and we came because of her dream-to realize her spiritual photo exhibition, "Announcement after 2000" as never seen before on Times Square. The biggest NY art foundations told her that the project is "too big, to ambitious, to provocative..." She didn't give up-the idea of the exhibition transformed into the book "Heaven Sent; One Photo, One Hundred Miracles" which she's looking for a publisher for. Check more out HERE!
We applied for a Social Security number, work permit and NY ID (which we received) and for a Green Card, too. In 2006 I was denied (and was without the right to renew my work permit and ID) while my mom was in "process of adjustment of status" which immediately created a separation and isolation of our family in the system. In 2008 my father decided to go back to Croatia (I was 13 years old). Since then, my mom and I are alone in USA.
From 2001-2006 I went back EVERY summer ALONE since the age of 6, with a stewardess who take care of me, and my mom came with me twice. Since 2006, I can't travel back home, which has caused great sadness for me and my family members.
Thanks to President Obama's decision and his program called "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" last year (2013) I could finally AGAIN receive a work permit and a NY ID, but they are valid only for two years (I have no right to apply for green card or to travel out of the USA).
In the words of the BuzzFeed article by Adrian Carrasquillo, he states:
Bajamonti’s situation underscores two lesser-discussed features of the undocumented immigrant population living in the United States: the existence of people without current legal status who came to the country legally, and that, of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the nation, at least 2 million are not Latino.
I've been undocumented for almost 8 years and I've had to deal with the difficulty of my personal glass ceiling such as my struggles of at one point not being able to get a job, or not being able to receive financial aid for my dream college, of not being able to vote, and most personally, of not being able to travel back to my beautiful Dalmatia, Croatia to see my family for the past eight years. Professionally I couldn't go with Eve Ensler to Africa and Paris for the performance of I Am An Emotional Creature, and feminist activism, and I wasn't able to go to Mexico with the Lower Eastside Girls Club.
My determination to be a part of the competitive New York City and reach my FULLEST potential inspired me to excel in more ways than one as you can see on my blog.
I've had prestigious internships such as Seventeen Magazine (at 17 years old!!!), Paper Magazine, and Nylon Magazine. I've also been a member of Tyra Banks' TZONE mentorship program and have performed for the Flawsome Ball for celebrity guests in order to raise money for the Lower Eastside Girls Club where I've been a member of for the longest. I've been cast in Eve Ensler's I Am An Emotional Creature play (with actress Rosario Dawson being the creative director!) and have been a part in closely planning Ensler's One Billion Rising Campaign for women's rights with her and her team. I've also held leadership positions such as being Executive Board Member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Borough of Manhattan Community College from which I'll be graduating from this semester and am going off to Brooklyn College for Theater (acting) and Broadcast Journalism.
Morally I'm doing the right thing for our humanity. I keep my third eye open and my mouth outspoken. I'm raising the level of consciousness in our society and I invite everyone who wants to vibrate at a higher frequency to join me towards the path of enlightenment, full of love and compassion for the human race.
I've paved my own unique journey full of opportunity, and have completely disregarded my status. I hope that other fellow undocumented people free themselves as well and share THEIR personal story.
Thank you for reading.
Before the BIG moment!