CT Students for a DREAM travels to DC

This year marked the second time I’ve been to a Dream Graduation in DC (as detailed in my previous post), although they were similar at first glance, upon closer inspection, the two events become markedly different. This trip marked my own personal growth, the growth of the dream movement in CT, as well as the evolution of the dream movement on a whole.

CT Students for a DREAM brought 18 people from CT for the two days of action in DC. For many of them, it was the first time being involved with the DREAM movement on a national level. I was excited for them and couldn’t wait for them to discover the community and personal empowerment gained through this movement.

As everyone gathered before the DREAM Act Senate Hearing on the morning of June 28th, one of our high school members exclaimed “I know that guy, and that girl! From facebook!” – referring g to 2 UWD leaders, which immediately reminded me of my excited a short year ago.

We then headed to the first ever Senate Hearing on the Dream Act and attended a reception with Senator Durbin afterwards.  In the afternoon, my sister and I took some of CT group lobbying at both our Senators’ offices (Blumenthal and Lieberman). It was the first time lobbying for many of them and they were clearly nervous, but they all did a great job (I was so proud of them!). We even met with Senator Blumenthal himself (yay, photo-op!).

We slept at the same church I had stayed in for the previous year, and I couldn’t help but to appreciate how far Connecticut has come – unlike last year, my sister and I were not the only ones from CT, in fact, we had brought an entire van of CT Dreamers!

The next morning, we all donned our caps and gowns for the Dream Graduation. With the “Deportation Class of 2011” standing up front, I realized that aside from showing the growth of the group in CT, this year’s actions also showed the evolution of the DREAM movement.  Last year, the graduation was pushing for the Dream Act as a standalone Bill (still unlikely at that time). While this year, we attended the first ever Senate Hearing on the Dream Act, which shows the power that our movement now has. Last year, the tone at the Dream Graduation was jubilant, while this year the mood was much more somber. This year we were demanding that Obama stop deporting Dreamers and were holding his administration accountable for their failure to act. Further, as Jose Antonio Vargas made clear by calling himself an “Undocumented American” during his address at the graduation – we are demanding to be acknowledged as what we always knew we were – Americans.

After the Dream Graduation, we marched in 90 degree weather all the way to the White House, chanting “Education not Deportation,” “Up Up with Education, Down Down with Deportation,” and, “Obama, Don’t Deport My Mama!”. Despite the heat, I could tell that my CT team was enjoying being part of it all.

At the White House, we took part in what was the most intense direct action I have participated in. All 200 of us lined up and our “Deportation Class of 2011” told their stories and chained themselves together. We all then literally and symbolically turned our backs on the White House and the Obama Administration, shouting “End our Pain or No Campaign!” – meaning that Obama must stop the deportations if he wants the Latino vote.  We continued passionately chanting several different slogans – the heat was exhausting, but that didn’t bother us – we were empowered, we were letting the Obama Administration know that we are watching and that his actions have consequences.

 

As our CT contingency left DC later that afternoon, I reflected how this trip marked my own personal growth, the growth of the dream movement in ct, as well as the evolution of the dream movement on a whole.

Reflections on DREAM Graduation in DC

This year marked the second time I’ve been to a Dream Graduation in DC, although they were similar at first glance, upon closer inspection, the two events become markedly different. Marking my own personal growth, the growth of the dream movement in ct, as well as the evolution of the dream movement on a whole.

It was July 2010 (exactly one year ago today!)  when I went to my first Dream Graduation; it was one of my first public forays into the DREAM movement.  I heard about it on facebook and immediately remembered the 2009 graduation, when I wanted to go so badly, but could not even muster the courage to ask my mom to let me go. But in 2010, after convincing my mom, I packed my cap and gown and got on a bus organized by my neighboring DREAM group, the NYSLYC. Their bus headed back to NY the same day, but I decided to stay one more day and somehow find my own way home (a then outrageous expression of personal independence on my part).

The day of the 2010 Dream Graduation was when 22 undocumented students were arrested after staging a sit-in at DC Senate Offices. I then wound up at a vigil outside a detention facility until 2:30am. As the crowd outside the detention facility thinned out in the early morning hours, my sister and I didn’t know where we were going to sleep or how we we’re going to get there, and we began to worry – “what have we gotten ourselves into?”. Everyone else was part of a state group, while my sister and I were the only ones from Connecticut.

We wound up being taken in by the IYJL’s van (some of whom had been arrested earlier that day). They gave us a ride the church were people were staying and their friendliness continued into the next day, when they gave us a ride to breakfast and to the next day’s actions. And that’s when I knew that I had to be part of this movement. I had been welcomed by a group of people who had never met me and who did not even have room for me in their van. That’s when I realized the bond that dreamers have with one another. No matter where we’re from, whether we know each other or not, a dreamer will never leave another in a time of need. 

Flash forward to this year, and my sister and I are part of CT Students for a DREAM, and we’re organizing our own van to drive down to the 2011 Dream Graduation. We brought 18 people from CT for the two days of action. For many of them, it was the first time being involved with the DREAM movement on a national level. I was excited for them and couldn’t wait to relive my previous years’ experience through their eyes – as they discovered the community and personal empowerment gained thought involved in this movement.

For CT Students for a Dream’s experience in DC for the two days of action, see my next post!

 

Your One Stop Online Petition Shop, July 11

If you’re regularly trolling around DREAM Act circles online, you probably often come across petitions. Petitions for END cases, in support of In State Tuition Bill, against anti-immigrant legislation or amendments, the list goes on and on ….

It can be overwhelming! You want to sign them all, but it’s hard to keep track!

Well, I’m here to help! This is your One Stop Shop for Online petition signing! I’ve scoured blogs, websites, and forums to make our “arm chair activism” (as I like to call it) even easier!

Check out this week’s selection … neatly categorized!

 

Education Not Deportation Petitions!

 

Stop Erick’s Deportation

Erick came to the United States when he was only two years old. Now 22, he has lived in North Carolina for the majority of his life. One night Erick Velazquillo was pulled over driving with his high beams on. He was arrested and spent 3 days in jail. On July 19, a judge in immigration court might send him back to a country he doesn’t remember. Erick is an athlete and an aspiring nutritionist; he has every desire to stay and live in the U.S. as the American he already is. If deported, he will be sent back to a country he hasn’t been to in 20 years!
Please sign the petition and help us stop Erick’s deportation.
http://action.dreamactivist.org/erick

.. or even better Call DHS – Janet Napolitano (202-282-8495) and ICE – John Morton (202.732.3000)
Sample Script: “Hi, I was calling to ask that Erick Velazquillo’s deportation be deferred. Erick (A# 200-97-0380) has been living in the United States since he was 2 years old. If deported, he will be returned to a country he hasn’t been to in 20 years. Erick wants to contribute to this country as a nutritionist. Don’t deport Erick.”

 

Stop the deportation of Alberto!

The latest Washington DREAMer to be caught In the ICE deportation web is Alberto Yañez of Elma, Washington. Alberto  has lived in the United States since he was 1 ½ years old and is now 24 years old. He is the father to three US citizen children, ages 4, 19 months, and 5 weeks. He also has 2 US citizen brothers. On November 16, 2010 everything changed when he was detained by ICE at his home then spent approximately 30 days in the Tacoma Detention Center. His next scheduled hearing date with ICE is July 7th, when he could be deported. http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-deportation-of-productive-young-american-dreamer-alberto-yanez?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition

http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6417

 

Stop Hermengildo’s Deportation

Hermengildo Reyes came to the United States in 1999 seeking a better life. He has been living in Georgia ever since. He was arrested in Cobb County, GA and taken to a detention center until he was released to his family. He is set to be deported on July 19, 2011. Hermengildo has 3 U.S. citizen children and 2 of them suffer from learning disabilities and speech impairment. If Hermengildo is deported, his 2 children won’t have anyone to care for them and won’t receive the medical attention they need.
http://action.dreamactivist.org/reyes
… or even better  Call DHS – Janet Napolitano (202-282-8495) and ICE – John Morton (202.732.3000)
Sample Script: “Hi, I was calling to ask that Hermengildo Reyes’ deportation be deferred. Hermengildo has been living in Georgia since 1999. He has 2 U.S. citizen children with learning disabilities who need him in the United States. Please don’t deport Hermengildo Reyes.”

 

Stop Deportation of the Mathe Karekezi Family

Andy Mathe (A#88-488-386) is being threatened with immediate deportation, to the point of being told ‘next time we will drug you and deport you.’ We need you to take urgent action, the entire family is fighting their deportation, however Andy is currently detained and could be deported any minute now. 

http://action.dreamactivist.org/mathefam/

 Call DHS – Janet Napolitano (202-282-8495) and ICE – John Morton (202.732.3000)
Sample Script: “I am calling to ask that Andy Mathe (A#88-488-386) and his family be allowed to stay.  If deported the entire family could be killed, please grant deferred action for the Mathe Family.”

 

Stop Mercedes’ Deprotation!

Mercedes came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 11. She is now 18 years old. On May 15th, 2011, a Sunday after going to church in Nashville, a police officer pulled over Mercedes Gonzalez for driving less than 10 miles over the speed limit. The officer asked Mercedes about her immigration status, put her in handcuffs and took her to jail. Mercedes and her family were devastated, as she was graduating from high school the following Saturday. Mercedes spent approximately 3 days in jail, and was told by immigration officials that she would never go back to school, graduate from high school or see her family again. Sign this petition to ask Janet Napolitano to grant deferred action to Mercedes.

http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=493

 

Stop Julio’s Deportation!

Julio, a Bronx Community College student, faces an imminent deportation order after being detained in Greyhound bus. He is set to be deported back to El Salvador where he faces gang violence due to his sexual orientation. Julio came to the United States in 2007, fleeing threats on his life from gang members.  Julio is a bright, hard-working college student who has aspirations to contribute and serve his community as a radiologist. His life is in your hands.
http://action.dreamactivist.org/julioh/
Call DHS – Janet Napolitano (202-282-8495) and ICE – John Morton (202.732.3000)
Sample Script: “Hi, I was calling to ask that Julio Enrique Hernandez Moreno’s deportation be deferred. If Julio is returned to El Salvador, he will face gang violence because of his sexual orientation. Julio wants to contribute to this country as a radiologist. Don’t deport Julio.”

 

 Stop Denis’ and Vinny’s Deportations!

Vinny and Denis have a lot in common. They are both Brazilian immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as young teenagers and are currently living in Massachusetts. Both of them dream of one day becoming engineers and are currently enrolled in engineering programs to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, both of these young men are currently in deportation proceedings. http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=512

 

Anti-Immigrant Legislation

 

Tell CT Gov. Malloy to Pull out of Secure Communities

Governor Malloy exhibited true leadership in calling for deferred deportation for local DREAMer Mariano Cardosso.  He was also a supporter of CTs own DREAM legislation.  He should follow that up by standing up for the thousands of families affected by this program. Both the State of Illinois and the State of New York have pulled out of this program.  Connecticut should follow suit. Help us in asking Governor Malloy to pull out of the Secure Communities Program — sign the petition! http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-malloy-pull-out-of-the-secure-communities-program

 Gov. Brown: Take California out of the S-Comm Program

Sign the petition to join California Representatives in calling on California governor, Jerry Brown, to take California out of S-Comm immediately. http://www.change.org/petitions/gov-brown-take-california-out-of-the-s-comm-program-no-more-arizonas

Tell Boston to stand against Secure Communties!

Sign this petition to help stop deportation of Brazillian DREAMer detained in a raid. http://www.change.org/petitions/its-time-for-boston-to-stand-against-s-comm-now?utm_medium=twitter

Remove Anti-Immigrant Amendments from Massachusetts Budget

MA State Senators have attached anti-immigrant, anti-worker, and anti-family amendments to the Senate version of the state budget. The budget is now in conference and we must let the chairs of that committee know that these outrageous amendments are unacceptable http://www.change.org/petitions/remove-anti-immigrant-amendments-from-massachusetts-budget

 Stop Alabama HB 56!

Alabama’s Governor just signed House bill 56 into law.  This bill is worse than the Arizona and Georgia Bills.. It bans undocumented youth from all colleges and universities, requires all K-12 school children to prove immigration status, requires parents of children to sign an affidavit with school as to their own immigration status, and requires implementation of E-Verify across the state. Sign the petition asking the Obama administration to step in. http://action.dreamactivist.org/alabama/

Tell Gov Haley to Veto SB 20 Immediately

The South Carolina State Legislature voted in favor of SB20, an Arizona SB1070 copycat legislation that gives police the authority to check someone’s immigration status during something as simple as a traffic stop. Sign this petition to urge Governor Haley to veto SB20 immediately!  http://action.dreamactivist.org/southcarolina

 Tell NC Gov Perdue to Veto Bill 36

HB 36 has passed both houses of the state legislature. It would require employers to use the flawed E-Verify system to check the status of workers they hire. Sign petition urging the NC governor to veto this bill. http://www.change.org/petitions/oppose-mandatory-e-verify-in-north-carolina-hb-36#signatures

 *Disclaimer: online petition signing is not a substitute for on the ground activism. Consult your local immigrant rights organizations for next steps

Your One Stop Petition Shop

If you’re regularly trolling around DREAM Act circles online, you probably often come across petitions. Petitions for END cases, in support of In State Tuition Bill, against anti-immigrant legislation or amendments, the list goes on and on ….

It can be overwhelming! You want to sign them all, but it’s hard to keep track!

Well, I’m here to help! This is your One Stop Shop for Online petition signing! I’ve scoured blogs, websites, and forums to make our “arm chair activism” (as I like to call it) even easier!

Check out this week’s selection … neatly categorized!

 

Education Not Deportation Petitions!

Stop Julio’s Deportation!

Julio, a Bronx Community College student, faces an imminent deportation order after being detained in Greyhound bus. He is set to be deported back to El Salvador where he faces gang violence due to his sexual orientation. http://action.dreamactivist.org/julioh/

STOP DEPORTATION OF THE MATHE KAREKEZI FAMILY

Andy Mathe (A#88-488-386) is being threatened with immediate deportation, to the point of being told ‘next time we will drug you and deport you.’  Urgent action is needed –  Andy is currently detained and could be deported any minute now.  On Friday we managed to get him out of the airport, yesterday he talked his way out of the plane, but if they try to deport him again he may not be so lucky. http://action.dreamactivist.org/mathefam/

Ricardo Needs your Help!

Ricardo Muniz is a 22-year old college student in California, environmentalist, community activist, teen mentor, DREAM promoter, son, and brother. He wants to go on to pursue a double major in international business and environmental economy.  He is originally from Michoacan, Mexico, and was brought over by his parents to the United States when he was seven years old. http://www.change.org/petitions/dreamer-fights-to-stay-in-the-us-ricardo-needs-your-help

 Stop Elier’s Deportation

Last year, Elier was on a trip to New York with his high school to compete at Nationals for Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE). After placing in the highly competitive field, Elier was singled out at the airport before his team boarded to fly back to his home in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is set to be deported to Mexico, a country he hasn’t been to since he was 4 years old. http://action.dreamactivist.org/elier/

 Stop Raul’s Deportation

Raul Zamora came to the United States with his family from Mexico when he was 10 years old. Raul, who is now 21 years old, is an Urban Studies Major at the University of Texas in Austin. He was then transferred to ICE, and was put in deportation proceedings after being stopped by the University of Texas Police Department for a broken taillight. http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=457

 Stop Denis’ and Vinny’s Deportations!

Vinny and Denis have a lot in common. They are both Brazilian immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as young teenagers and are currently living in Massachusetts. Both of them dream of one day becoming engineers and are currently enrolled in engineering programs to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, both of these young men are currently in deportation proceedings. http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=512

 Stop Deportation of Sister Karen and Lizza

Karen and Lizza came to the United States from Peru with their parents in 2002 when they were nine and thirteen years old. Today, they are eighteen and twenty two. Both sisters are now facing deportation, after ICE raided their home on January 25, 2011. http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=344

 Help Stop the Deportation of Teen DREAMer, Luisa Argueta, and Her Mom

Brenda and her daughter Luisa (age 19) have lived in the United States since Luisa was four months old. Brenda married Jose, who is a lawful permanent resident and the only father Luisa has known. Brenda and Jose also have two U.S. citizen daughters. The family is about to be torn apart by Brenda and Luisa’s imminent deportation. http://www.change.org/petitions/help-stop-the-deportation-of-teen-dreamer-luisa-argueta-and-her-mom

Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Remove Anti-Immigrant Amendments from Massachusetts Budget

MA State Senators have attached anti-immigrant, anti-worker, and anti-family amendments to the Senate version of the state budget. The budget is now in conference and we must let the chairs of that committee know that these outrageous amendments are unacceptable http://www.change.org/petitions/remove-anti-immigrant-amendments-from-massachusetts-budget

 Stop Alabama HB 56!

Alabama’s Governor just signed House bill 56 into law.  This bill is worse than the Arizona and Georgia Bills.. It bans undocumented youth from all colleges and universities, requires all K-12 school children to prove immigration status, requires parents of children to sign an affidavit with school as to their own immigration status, and requires implementation of E-Verify across the state. Sign the petition asking the Obama administration to step in. http://action.dreamactivist.org/alabama/

Tell Gov Haley to Veto SB 20 Immediately

The South Carolina State Legislature voted in favor of SB20, an Arizona SB1070 copycat legislation that gives police the authority to check someone’s immigration status during something as simple as a traffic stop. Sign this petition to urge Governor Haley to veto SB20 immediately!  http://action.dreamactivist.org/southcarolina

 Tell NC Gov Perdue to Veto Bill 36

HB 36 has passed both houses of the state legislature. It would require employers to use the flawed E-Verify system to check the status of workers they hire. Sign petition urging the NC governor to veto this bill. http://www.change.org/petitions/oppose-mandatory-e-verify-in-north-carolina-hb-36#signatures

 Tell TX Lawmakers to say NO to SB 9 (AZ Copycat)

Sign the petition — Tell Texas lawmakers that no matter their party, Arizona-style legislation is anti-immigrant, anti-American, unconstitutional and bad for all Texans. http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-texas-lawmakers-to-say-no-to-arizona-style-racial-profiling#signatures

 Stop HB 87 in Georgia (AZ Copycat)

Georgia governor Nathan Deal signed one of the harshest immigration bills into law. HB 87, a copycat of Arizona’s immigration law, allows undocumented workers to be charged with felonies and carries the punishment of up to 15 years in prison. Georgia citizens who commit traffic violations with an undocumented worker in the vehicle can also be faced with up to a year in prison and $1,000 in fines. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/478/643/594/

 Tell CT Gov. Malloy to Pull out of Secure Communities

Governor Malloy exhibited true leadership in calling for deferred deportation for local DREAMer Mariano Cardosso.  He was also a supporter of CTs own DREAM legislation.  He should follow that up by standing up for the thousands of families affected by this program. Both the State of Illinois and the State of New York have pulled out of this program.  Connecticut should follow suit. Help us in asking Governor Malloy to pull out of the Secure Communities Program — sign the petition! http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-malloy-pull-out-of-the-secure-communities-program

 Gov. Brown: Take California out of the S-Comm Program

Sign the petition to join California Representatives in calling on California governor, Jerry Brown, to take California out of S-Comm immediately. http://www.change.org/petitions/gov-brown-take-california-out-of-the-s-comm-program-no-more-arizonas

 

In State Tuition

Remove Repeal of In State Tuition in WI

Scott Walker is at it again! Through his proposed 2011-2013 budget, the Governor aims to take away in-state tuition for countless of innocent undocumented students in Wisconsin who simply want to further their education. Education is a fundamental right in the lives of all people and, as such, should be attainable and affordable. http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=401

Tell Obama to Stop Deporting DREAMers!

 http://act.presente.org/sign/executive_action/?akid=369.125387.12weU5&rd=1&t=2

http://action.dreamactivist.org/obamalies/

http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=365

http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=469

 

Pass the DREAM Act now!

http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8496/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=464

*Disclaimer: online petition signing is not a substitute for on the ground activism. Consult your local immigrant rights organizations for next steps