This weekend I was among several organizers from Ohio and Michigan to present our progress and look to the future for the DREAM Act in Ohio. As a workshop presenter at the Great Lakes Colleges Association's annual Students of Color Leadership Conference, several things struck me as I spoke with the group of 50 students at Kenyon College.
The DREAM Act will pass because we will make it happen.
It's no surprise that the DREAM Activists have been criticized for their often irreverent organizing tactics. As a youth-led movement, they are overlooked or not taken seriously by the more established, albeit well-intentioned organizations and members of the immigrants' rights movement. However, the DREAM Activist approach is also one which carries a certain clarity, passion, and determination not present in other approaches to immigrants' rights.
The story of the DREAM Act movement is so compelling in part because it has not been static.
Unlike other recent movements, the DREAM Act movement has grown and thrived because of its commitment to diversity. To be clear, this is not a movement based solely on racial and ethnic diversity. The DREAM Act movement has sought out and leveraged many social justice intersections. It has always welcomed allies, and most importantly DREAM Activists understand the need to reach back and train, grow, and develop younger members of the movement. There is certainly recognition that in order for the movement to sustain itself, leadership must always adapt.
Ohio will play a key role in the story because of the Speaker-elect of the US House, John Boehner.
Speaking with Ohio DREAM Activists who have come from other states, their first discontent is that Ohio has been largely uncharted territory for organized DREAMers. Many come from places like Chicago or California, where a DREAM network has been in place for years. Just as Ohio is a key bellwether in Presidential elections, Ohio will be a focal point for the DREAM Act as well. Many in the immigrants' rights community have wondered how Mr. Boehner will handle the topic of immigration in the House. Although he voted against the Sensenbrenner Bill, he has been far from moderate on the issue. His district is also home to Sheriff Richard Jones.
We will continue organizing, always challenging the systems of oppression. We'll need your help to do it.