Lina,Born in Cali, Colombia, Grew up in Palmira, Valle De Cauca, Colombia and Florida. Former Restaurant Owner, Social Services Case Worker for Refugees and Recently-Arrived Immigrants, and Graduate Student
"They started to threaten my mom because of the position she had in Social Security in Colombia. So, she started to receive threats like for example, “We know what time your children leave school. We know what time they arrive. We know they go out to roller skate in the afternoons. We know that they go play hide and seek.” So, my mom made the decision with my father, in a very short time. I think they made the decision in one month, maybe less. We sold all the house. First my parents went. They left us there with my grandmother and after we came to be with them."
"I think that no one really wants to leave their country. I think that’s probably why I do what I do, and I work with so much care and so much dedication to what I’m doing right now because at the bottom of my heart, I’m sure that no one wants to leave their home, that everyone misses their people, that everyone in the world misses their food, their music, their folklore, art and countryside. But the reality is that many people have to escape their countries or that they have to go and many of us or many of them, above all, they don’t have any opportunity. There isn’t another option, and still today in Colombia, there are a lot of people who believe that the only option is to leave their country, because there aren’t opportunities. To miss one’s country is very hard. I have felt it since I was 13 years old until I was 23. It was a constant feeling. I felt like half of my heart was there. I cried for my country."
"Here, I am a case manager. I help people who have recently arrived. Well, I help them with their medical appointments. I speak with them. I try to know a lot about them. I am interested in knowing a lot about their lives, because I identify a lot with them even though our paths are very different. I identify with the confusion of being an immigrant. The confusion of being an immigrant is to have your heart constantly divided between what is your home and what becomes your new home. So, I think what I like most about what I do is being able to help people through this transition."