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!

 

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