Araceli

Araceli is a mother of three who was recently pulled over by the police, ostensibly for “driving too slow.” While Araceli knew that she had been driving at a normal speed, the officer peppered her with accusations, implying that she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, asking about her immigration status, and finally impounding her car.

When Araceli and her husband went to city hall to get the paperwork she would need to get her car back, they found themselves face to face with the officer who had stopped her. When she asked again why she had been pulled over, the officer this time said that she was driving in a zigzag, and Araceli knew that he was lying. He threatened, then, to call immigration, and spoke to Araceli in a way that left her deeply shaken.

Before, Araceli trusted authority, but now she’s not so sure. She knows she’ll have to go to court, and fears what might happen. In some ways, Araceli considers herself lucky that this had never happened to her before. Many of her neighbors are pulled over once or twice a day by an officer who stations his patrol car at the entrance to the trailer park where they live. In a place where driving is an absolute necessity, this blatant racial profiling has placed Araceli and her neighbors under constant stress.