Words to Act On: Immigration Project


by Casey Coonerty Protti

After the 2016 election, Bookshop Santa Cruz created a year-long programming effort called Words to Act On to promote empathy, education, and action around pressing issues of national concern. We hope that you have followed and participated in our work on climate change with Ecology Action and women’s health and reproductive rights with Planned Parenthood throughout spring and summer. Today we turn our attention to the important issue of immigration, with a new partnership with the Community Action Board’s Immigration Project.

As readers, stories have long given us insight into the lives of immigrants. From The Joy Luck Club to Rain of Gold, from Persopolis to The Namesake, we’ve felt the emotions of people’s journey to a new country, the impact on their families both here and abroad, and their desire to celebrate their culture andassimilate into their new home.

Storytelling has the power to connect us to each other’s lives and that is why we are sharing the stories of immigrants in our own community. As you listen to their voices, we hope you are moved to donate to our Fund a Need Campaign. Each dollar is dedicated to helping fulfill the needs of our local immigrant communities, especially as many of these communities come under attack. Whether it be buying books for the Textbook Lending Library at UCSC, where over 800 undocumented students use study materials they might not otherwise be able to afford, or helping to fund a citizenship application for someone who doesn’t have the means to apply, every dollar raised will be put to use and make more concrete our commitment to a strong community of immigrants in Santa Cruz County.    


Andrés’s Story: "I was born in Mexico and came to the United States with my family when I was 7 years old. My parents worked around the clock to provide for our family in low-wage jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area. My mother was a janitor who worked from 6:00pm to 3:00am and my dad worked twojobs, from 4:00am through the evening. When I arrived at UCSC, I knew I had to make the most of it because of my parents’ sacrifices. Being a Dreamer is not an easy road—from being constantly worried about my family’s safety to finding ways to make ends meet while paying for college and living expenses that increase every year—but Dreamers are students determined to receive an education and make our families proud." 

Rosa’s Story: "I arrived in the United States from Oaxaca when I was 12 years old. Crossing the U.S.–Mexico border was a scary experience for a child, and it was one of the hardest decisions my mother ever made. She had no other option. Coming from a low-income single-mother household I knew that my mom was not going to be in a financial position to help cover my college expenses. Therefore, when I was a senior in high school I applied for numerous scholarships, hoping that by sharing my immigrant story and my desire to keep studying regardless of my legal status, people would contribute to my education. I was really fortunate to have encountered several community organizations that could see I was determined to get a college education. This community support has been invaluable to me and is the reason I will be the first person in my family to graduate with a college degree, in June 2018. My long-term career goal is to be an attorney who provides legal assistance to immigrant and undocumented community members who are facing violence and other social/political conflicts. I hope to give back to the community who helped me achieve my dreams."


  • DONATE $5 to the Community Action Board Immigration Project to help fund commissary needs for those detained.
  • DONATE $10 to the Community Action Board Immigration Project to help fund gas cards for family members to visit those who are detained.
  • DONATE $20 to help buy books for Dientes and Salud Para La Gente immigrant patients.
  • DONATE $25 to the UCSC Education Opportunity Program textbook fund for Dreamer students.
  • DONATE $50 to the Community Action Board Immigration Project to help support their pro bono legal services aiding our local immigrant community—including citizenship applications, community workshops, renewal of DACA applications, and more.



Sunday, November 5th, at 7:00 Immigration Project Community Read: Enrique's Journey

Join us for a dynamic discussion of our community-wide immigration read, Enrique’s Journey* by Sonia Nazario, the true story of a teenager from Honduras who sets out on a journey, braving hardship and peril, to find his mother, who had no choice but to leave him when he was a child to go to the United States in search of work. We encourage you to pick up a copy of Enrique’s Journey, then to join us for a discussion moderated by Fernando Leiva, associate professor of Latin America and Latino Studies at UCSC.

* Young Readers and Spanish editions are also available




Success for Planned Parenthood! On August 27th, over 500 community members showed their support for our local Planned Parenthood by attending our Read & Rights Literary Fundraiser. Four authors, Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth McKenzie, Laurie R. King, and Jonathan Franzen, served libations to a committed and festive crowd. Together we raised more than $35,600 for Planned Parenthood! Thank you to our generous and supportive community!

This article appear in Bookshop Santa Cruz's 2017 Winter Newsletter.


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