Selena Gomez sent well-wishes to students from immigrant families in the class of 2020.
The singer, 27, praised the “immigrads” for their tremendous accomplishments in her congratulatory message during Define American’s #Immigrad 2020 Virtual Commencement.
“I know that this is a virtual ceremony, but it is very real and it’s very real to all the families and all of you and your communities,” she said. “I want you guys to know that you matter and that your experiences are a huge part of the American story.”
“When my family came here from Mexico they set into motion my American story, as well as theirs,” she continued. “I’m a proud third-generation American-Mexican, and my family’s journey and their sacrifices helped me get me to where I am today.”
She said that hers is “not a unique story.”
“Each and every one of you has a similar tale of becoming an American,” Gomez continued. “Regardless of where your family’s from, regardless of your immigration status, you have taken action to earn an education, to make your families proud and to open up your world.”
The singer also expressed that she hopes the students are moved, “to be everything that you want to be.”
Gomez has used her platform before to share more about her family’s background, and she also produced an eight-part Netflix docu-series, “Living Undocumented,” about immigration.
In an essay for Time magazine published in October 2019, Gomez wrote about her aunt crossing from Mexico over the U.S. border in the back of a truck in the 1970s. Her grandparents came to the United States next, and her father was then born in Texas, she said in the essay.
“Over the past four decades, members of my family have worked hard to gain United States citizenship,” she explained in the piece. “Undocumented immigration is an issue I think about every day, and I never forget how blessed I am to have been born in this country thanks to my family and the grace of circumstance.”
She also explained in the essay that she feels a “responsibility” to use her voice and huge platform for “people who are too afraid to speak.”
“When I signed on to executive-produce a show about undocumented immigrants, I couldn’t help but anticipate the criticisms I might face,” she wrote. “But the truth is, the worst criticism I can imagine is still nothing compared to what undocumented immigrants face every day.”
Read more about her thoughts on immigration here
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