The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Mom and son get a second chance for a first start; City College students paints a new picture with mom now in the picture
Rose Vega | [email protected]

There is a lot you can accomplish in 22 years: graduate high school, go to college, get a job, meet the love of your life and so much more.

Jesse Najera-Imbault  sits just outside the photography room, legs folded beneath him having accomplished all that. However, those 22 years did not fly by, they lingered far too long. While others waited for their favorite sitcom to return, Najera-Imbault waited to be reunited with his mother.

Najera-Imbault, 27, has spent nearly 22 years being separated from his mother. At the age of 5, he came home one day to find his mother, Maria Najera, was in jail waiting to be sent back to Mexico. His father had left before he was born and with no other family able to care for him he was a adopted by a couple that was close friends with his mother.

He worked tirelessly and waited countless years to be with his mom once more, and a few months ago his wait was finally over.  

“Tears. Emotion. Joy. Happiness. It was strange and emotional to see her after 22 years,” said Najera-Imbault, his normally cheerful voice was more subdued and mature as he recalled the emotions that had overcome him when he got to see his mother again.

Najera himself did not get his citizenship until two years ago.

“Before that I was illegal and it was hard for me to get insurance. It was hard for me to drive. It was hard for me to get a job,” said the now City College photojournalism major. “It was hard for me to get all the same benefits as the others.”

He knows that his story is not the only one and that many other Latino families have gone through similar ordeals.

“A lot of Latin people work hard. They came here to work hard,” said Najera-Imbault as he talked about deportation.

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“There is a strength and perseverance inside that has allowed him to overcome those adversities,” said his adopted father, Gary Fenske. “I see a young man, continually struggling to prove, not so much to anyone else, but to himself, his self-worth.”

While he has accomplished so much, he is still aiming for more. He would love to just travel the world and capture beauty with his lens but for now he is working on getting a degree in photojournalism.

“Fantastic character, overall a great guy,” says R. Andrew Murray, Najera-Imbault’s boss at Storybook Reality.

Murray was impressed by Najera-Imbault’s work ethic and said that his organizational skills improved his business greatly.

While his busy schedule doesn’t give him much free-time he always tries to spend time with his family, especially his husband. Najera-Imbault has been married for two years and has been with his partner for nearly eight. He said it was with the support and love that his husband gave him that he was able to accomplish so much.  

“At this point I think I already have what I want,” he says.

“If I look back and I see my old past it was really, really rough. And right now sometimes I just try to forget all my past and not to go back”

Najera-Imbault, who has accomplished so much, is still looking forward to doing so much more.

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