Analisa Freitas shares personal story
During the fifth day of the Feather New York trip, Feather advisers Greg Stobbe and Kori Friesen took a small group of journalists to Washington Square Park to sight-see before attending a Stomp production later that night, March 16.
While in the park, they met a Modesto native who was promoting a peaceful protest against President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Staff writer, Sam Cross, ‘19, interviewed Analisa Freitas on her motivations for her protest and her experiences moving from a small, rural city to one of the largest cities in the U.S.
Traveling to foreign places scares some, but a Modesto native eases those fears. The Feather Online encountered a fellow Californian while strolling in a city park.
Born in Peru, Analisa Freitas found herself adopted at a young age and living in Modesto, California. Dreaming of life on Broadway, Freitas left her rural background in Modesto for city life in the Big Apple.
“I was raised in the Central Valley, and I always wanted to come to the east coast because I wanted to pursue a career in music,” Freitas said. “New York is the place to be for Broadway. When I came to New York, I had a transformational experience. Often in our Central Valley lives, it’s pretty insular. We only know what we know in the valley, and when I came out to the city, I didn’t know there were so many ways to live and cultures.”
With rolling fields of crops and orchards, Californians find no shortage in produce at local supermarkets. However, in New York, Freitas found that fresh produce was harder to come by in the densely populated city.
“Living in New York is overwhelming especially being someone that has come from a small town,” Freitas said. “I didn’t know how the subway map was set up, how the trains work and that life without a car is possible. I live in the Bronx Borough, and that’s about the size of San Jose, California. One part of this city is like the biggest city in California.
“I fell in love with the city,” Freitas continued. “I also started to see a lot of injustices too that were taking place in the world. That’s how I got involved with a faith-based community organizing event.”
Organizer for the borough of The Bronx, Freitas works for an organization known as Faith in New York. Faith in New York represents over 70 congregations in the boroughs of The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The organization seeks justice for all through the influence of city policies and systems. Faith in New York is affiliated with the PICO Network which connects congregations across the country.
“Today, we are getting set up to have some worship songs and to get our people motivated to stay focused on what we need to do on the local level,” Freitas said. “We have heard so many executive orders that have been hateful against our brothers and sisters in faith.
“We want to make sure that people have the energy to continue fighting. Unlike many other areas, this city is in a local election year. We are setting up for a rally to celebrate the hold on the Muslim travel ban 2.0 and to ask NY Mayor Bill de Blasio to make NY a sanctuary city.”
After the worship, the gathering ended with a pray-in across the street from an ICE holding center. Clergy and lay leaders participated in a civil disobedience demonstration that led to arrests of the protestors. The act of defiance was intended to signify the group’s willingness to sacrifice for what they believe in. Freitas feels called to stand up and protest against the travel ban.
“I personally have a migration story myself,” Freitas said. “I was born in Peru, and I was adopted as a baby. I was raised in Modesto, but because of that, anyone can say that immigration is not a part of the human experience. I think that is absolutely counter to what my life has been about. I have my adopted family here in the states and my birth family in Peru that I have a relationship with.”
Her experiences with immigration and growing up in America led Freitas to stand up for others attempting to enter the country. Freitas feels that the ban targets Muslims and believes the executive order is unjust and discriminatory. She plans to continue to stand against the ban, and achieve equality for all New Yorkers.
For another article read: Dave Berry gives insight, entertains through comedy.
This writer can be reached via email: Sam Cross.Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.