Javier Juarez

Donor Engagement Officer

As I looked at myself in my reflection of the same mirrors I cleaned 20 years prior, the reflection of my father behind me appeared, and he was still cleaning those toilets so one day his son could have the opportunities he never had...

My Story

I crossed the El Paso border alone at the age of 10 after being stranded in Ciudad Juarez for 10 days. My father who has crossed weeks earlier was locked in a motel room waiting to hear word from me. He was unable to come find me due to the fear of being caught by immigration and destroying our plans of safely making it to the US. Luckily, we made it to the US and took a Greyhound bus to Providence RI, where I currently live. Providence has been my home for the past 20 years. Once settled, my father started working as a janitor at a building downtown at night. As days went by we could see that we were drifting apart, as he would leave for work before I woke up for school and came home late when I was asleep. In order to spend more time with each other, my father began taking me to his part time job. As a janitor, he would clean all the bathrooms of this massive 11 floor building in the heart of the city. We went floor by floor until we finished. We used industrial cleaning chemicals and windex to leave the bathrooms fresh. During our cleaning sessions, we would talk about all of the opportunities the US had, we would talk about our family back home and how with hard work and perseverance we will one day make it.
Last year I graduated from Brown University with a Master's degree in American Studies. One of my first classes at Brown was at a building downtown, and to my surprise, the building that my father and I cleaned for years when I was little was the Brown building where I had orientation. Instead of going to the class, I went to the men's bathroom. And as I looked at myself in my reflection of the same mirrors I cleaned 20 years prior, the reflection of my father behind me appeared, and he was still cleaning those toilets so one day his son could have the opportunities he never had. That was the original dream, my parents were the original dreamers.
There are many stories like mine in our community, but if I had to send a message to my undocu community its this:
Get your education, don't forget where you came- Every day on my way to work I see this building, and this drives me to move forward, find your building, fulfill your potential and bring your community with you. Today I work at the largest community college in New England and plan to pursue a Doctorate degree in education. Bring me to your campus! @javiAjuarez

My Message to Undocuprofessionals

1)Network, network, network- Surround yourself with mentors, allies, and other professionals who push you to be better everyday. Social currency is as important as any resume bullet point.
2) Invest in public speaking opportunities. Being able to communicate clearly and efficiently in a professional setting will set you apart from others. Get involved in public speaking opportunities such as, lead a presentation, have the guts to give a toast at a special occasion, present your research to faculty or friends, etc.
Scroll to top