I was born Martina Gallegos Robles, but when I was getting my legal residence, immigration officials didn’t know what to do with my long name; they wanted to get rid of Robles, and I told them it was my mother’s maiden name and I wanted to keep it. I asked if I could use it as a middle name, and they said yes. I couldn’t let them take away part of my name that means so much: perseverance, determination, resilience, having to break so many barriers to overcome so many adversities, and being a survivor; that was my mother, too, and I love and honor her maiden name for the kind of person she was, and because I owe her who I am. I’ve never been comfortable with the name change, but I know the name I was given at birth, and that’s all that matters.


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