Angy Rivera and came to the United States from Armenia, Columbia with her mother when she was three years old. Growing up in Queens, her life was controlled by a secret. Rivera, now 22, is undocumented.
“You grow up with this fear, this insecurity, don’t trust anybody,” she said. “What kind of lifestyle is that where you’re trying to function like a normal human being but right off the bat you don’t trust anybody.”
Rivera found many questions, and few answers.
“I had my best friends from middle school who I didn’t know if I could tell,” she said. “And my partners, if I had a bf, should I tell him? You have this big secret that you keep and you isolate yourself.” She was told she could not go to the airport, the DMV, or even the hospital. Public settings would require identification, or unwanted questions.
“I felt like I was suffocating in it, and that’s what motivated me—seeing that fear,” she said.
In October 2010, Rivera created Ask Angy, the first and only advice column for undocumented youth.
“When you’re undocumented you just want to find answers anonymously online,” Rivera said. “I wanted a place where people could ask questions and feel safe, but still be anonymous if they choose to be and just have that resource out there.”
Angy Rivera tells her story.