Miriam Vargas

In a light-hearted red-white-and-blue moment Miriam Vargas shares her patriotic spirit as she celebrates her first Fourth of July since she was released from sanctuary in February. Although she has spent the last 3 such holidays in confinement at First English Lutheran Church due to a deportation order, Miriam’s optimistic spirit shines as bright as her blue fingernails. Recently Ally Goldman and Barbara Pratzner Baer sat down for a conversation with her about what the holiday means to her. Here are some excerpts from that conversation:

How this year is different: “This summer is super different…I was deprived of my freedom and I was just locked up in there and now I can enjoy myself and go to the park, go down by the river, go on walks, and it’s so beautiful to take Lucas (her dog) out on walks even though he behaves badly.”

How she will celebrate this special holiday out of confinement: “We have plans to go see the fireworks around here at the park as a family and celebrating my freedom….We’re going to have a picnic, I think we’re going to make some sandwiches….ham sandwiches with cheese lettuce and tomato. We’ll take a watermelon and cut it there at the park. Right now I don’t have plans for dessert but maybe we’ll have cookies.”

The meaning of freedom to her: “Freedom means a lot to me. Like a bird taking flight from a tree or like a butterfly that lands on a flower that’s growing more and more everyday…. It means a lot because it’s a country with a lot of great opportunities and a lot of kindhearted people.”

What it would mean to her to become a US citizen: “It would be such a personal victory. If I am a US citizen in the future, I would feel so full of opportunities and so full of opportunities to help other people.”

Rights and responsibilities of US citizens that she looks forward to having: “One right that I would like to have for myself is the right to vote. To be able to choose a President or a member of Congress. To be able to choose the person that is going to help our community. Someone who is focused on helping others and who is interested in education and public health. I would also like to help elect a member of Congress that has good ideas regarding children that need help, as well as children with cancer or a disability. I would like them to support the families and all of the children, no matter where in the world they’re from.”

What she admires about US citizens she knows: “I admire everyone that I know. I admire those that support human rights and freedom…I admire people who help others in need, I admire those types of people a lot.”

Things we take for granted here: “There’s so much food here…We have to take very good care of our trees and we have to make sure we have enough food, water, and vegetation. I think people should be really conscious of the environment, of agriculture, of vegetation. There are many water sources here, so many ways to get food across the whole country, that’s what I’ve seen in my experience.”

A final reminder to her supporters: “On the topic of freedom, I would say I want to remind people that it’s a privilege, and it’s 100% the best thing a human being/ individual can have because you can share in everything. You can share with friends, family, and neighbors. So, the message I want to send is that I hope everyone enjoys their Independence Day. I wish you all the best and I hope that there is always freedom in the US and in every country.”