Karina Aguilar Guerrero
Audio Recording of Interview
Karina immigrated to the United States from Mexico at the age of 9, and discusses how the incentive of employment with better conditions informed said move. She primarily focuses on the role that her Pentecostal Christianity has played in grounding her in her beliefs and also guiding her throughout her life, leading her to now study as an undergraduate at Princeton University and focus her efforts on social justice.
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Narrator: Karina Aguilar Guerrero
Location: Ontario, California (Virtual)
Summary: Karina immigrated to the United States from Mexico at the age of 9, and discusses how the incentive of employment with better conditions informed said move. She primarily focuses on the role that her Pentecostal Christianity has played in grounding her in her beliefs and also guiding her throughout her life, leading her to now study as an undergraduate at Princeton University and focus her efforts on social justice.
Topics: Childhood, Pandemic, Cultural Differences, Personal Finance, Immigration Process, & Undocumented Immigration
Section 1: (00:00 - 07:23)
Childhood - Born in Mexicali, Mexico but moved to California at a young age. They moved around a lot in California during her childhood and she ended up studying at Princeton University.
Pandemic - Her whole family got COVID but the community was helpful enough to provide food and any other necessities that they needed during the time.
Section 2: (08:31 - 17:38)
Personal Finance - A major incentive for Karina’s family was the possibility of employment in America with better working conditions.
Cultural Differences - Karina notes that in the beginning she felt as though America wasn’t her country and she kept on questioning her parents as to why they were there. She found that living with her immediate family and her aunt and uncle helped in her adjustment to America.
Immigration Process - Karina and her mother would frequently visit Mexico and their relatives but at some point applying for visas became exhausting. Eighth grade was the first time that she came to understand what it meant to be an undocumented individual.
Education - It became extremely important for Karina to succeed in highschool because she knew she would probably always be considered an international student even though she spent the majority of her life in America.
Section 3: (17:50 - 27:42 )
Religion/Comfort - She was raised as a Pentacostal Christian. Because she was raised in a particularly faithful family, religion plays a very important role in her life. Her father was a pastor and with that came certain expectations from her that she had a good relationship with God. Karina also says that at certain times she felt as though her religious practice turned into a habit.
Revival of Faith - Prior to coming to Princeton she was worried about losing her connection with God just because she would be in an environment where her parents would no longer be there to help encourage her. She was pleasantly surprised with the Princeton community because she was able to find a group of students like her that actively sought to include God in their daily lives. A big realization that she came to is this idea of surrendering to God.
Section 4: (29:55 - 34:57)
Lived Religion - She uses music as a tool for worship. She practiced her faith in both private and public settings.
Undocumented Immigration - The Trump administration made it extremely difficult for individuals with DACA. She reasoned that the stress caused by the back and forth around DACA served as a test of her faith.
Section 5: (37:51 - 46:43)
Undocumented Immigration - Because of her citizenship status, Karina needed the protection of Princeton Unvierrsity in case the Trump administration got rid of the DACA immigration policy.
Education - Karina’s passion is education and working on increasing access to education.
Section 6: (47:47 - 55:36)
Future - As of now, she is trying to get work experience in fields that she likes before deciding on what field to study in graduate school. Some of the reasons for why she is applying to graduate school: increase representation of Latinas and the possibility of a better compensated career.
Religion - Her mother’s side was raised Chrisitan and her father was raised Catholic. He came into contact with the Pentacostal Church sometime during his teenage years.
Section 7: (57:04 - 01:06:23)
Childhood - There were certain expectations of her as the pastor’s eldest daughter however she never felt burdened by these ideas. She didn’t have that much stability growing up because her parents kept moving around.
Section 8: (01:07:09 -
Cultural Differences - In Mexico the people are a lot more friendly and approachable. The community in general seems to be a lot closer and personable than in America.
Lived Religion - In response to all of the events going on in 2020 from the Black Lives Matter movement to Covid-19, she tried to dispel the anger that fueled her passion for fighting for the oppressed. She grounds herself in her motivations to fight for social justice through her spirituality and by going back to the core beliefs of Christianity.