Gina Esquivel

Gina 18x24.jpg


Gina Esquivel


Charlotte & Costa Rica

Years to Citizenship

17 years

Arrived in the US


When you think of the word “immigrant”, what comes to mind?

Bare feet.
Bleeding with pain.
Bare feet.
Moving forward.
It hurts.
Bare feet.
No cushion.
Bare feet.
Nothing stops the bleeding.
Bare feet.
No protection.
Bare feet.
No lift. 
Bare feet.
Bare feet.
Bare feet
And the earth beneath them. 

When you look at this United States Passport, what does it mean to you?

Having to choose
Making a lot of choices
Not real
A lot of years

What message would you share with a newly arriving immigrant?

Learn about the culture you are joining. The history and people's stories. And how you can be part of making it better.

What have you learned from your journey? 

I stared at my Costa Rican passport for the last 15 years. It was really painful. I couldn’t use it. It really defined me. I talk about it being painful because I had to give up a lot of things to get here. To get the American passport. And then when it came it was almost like it was unreal. It’s still unreal. When I went to get my citizenship it still wasn’t clicking. It was an out of body experience.

chris richardson