Martine Kalaw '99 has written a memoir, Woman Without an Identity, regarding her journey through a seven-year battle as an undocumented immigrant without a family to becoming a senior level executive with an advanced degree, a father, and U.S. citizenship.
"I started to write my story because I was too afraid to speak," said Kalaw. "I felt invisible and the words I put on paper was the only voice I had. I was undocumented for thirteen years and in deportation for seven. I feared for my life and was at risk of being sent to a detention facility because I was also stateless. If something terrible was going to happen to me I needed people to know that I existed and that I wasn't just an 'illegal alien'."
Martine spent ten years writing an original memoir, a process she has described as "cathartic." After meeting with editors at Penguin and Random House she was frustrated with their opinions that she was too young to write her own story because it hadn't even started yet.
"A few years later I actually got my citizenship, my father found me through LinkedIn, and I went to Africa with one of my closest friends, another St. Anne's-Belfield alum, to meet my father," remembered Kalaw. "That was where the real story began and I wrote an entirely new manuscript."