DREAM Act Week of Action: First Event

 

Bread and Roses

Host: Arizona DREAM Act Coalition Central Valley DREAM Team

When I have to drop out of law school, when I have to look at my mom and wonder when she will be able to rest her feet, when I sleep 4 hour nights because my week is filled with work and meetings I know what keeps me going.  It is the creativity, the dedication, the passion, the solidarity, the love that DREAM Act activists have.  I am proud to call you all my closest friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

The Central Valley DREAM Team managed to secure a location literary a few days before the event.  I think it was meant to happen.  There is no other location I know of that compliments the fusion of the arts, activism, and solidarity as well as Tonatierra.  Inside there was art work:  the paintings by Enuf, the handmade jewelry of Silvia, the murals on the walls.  There was, of course, a lot of food.  And it was good food:  rice, beans, enchiladas, pan dulce!  I wanted to cry.

Tomas Karmelo, DeDee, Myrlin Hepworth and Grupo Frijolito were among the performers that energized and wowed the crowd outside.  All of them sweat pure talent and passion that waters the earth and sends chills up your spine.  Towards the end, “3 Minutes of Your Time” was shown and again people were crying.  Then a new member of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition took the stage, the M.C. of the night, Tania M.

“I was daddy’s little girl, he was my everything, and at the snap of a finger he was ripped out of my hands,” Tania began.  Tania actually conveyed the story of Jessica, her best friend, who could not be there to share her story, and Tania did great!  Her story captivated, her eloquence was admirable.  Tania has that courage that Marina has.  The courage to stand up for others because they know the struggle of their friends is their struggle too.

“Change in America comes when everyday people like you and me unite on a cause, raise our voices and stand up for what we believe in!”  said Tania.  She mentioned the night was for the girl who wanted to become a doctor, the boy who is a straight A student, the high school student that wants to be a teacher.  But the night was also for you Tania.  It was for the Central Valley DREAM Team, the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, the performers, and all those in attendance.

The Central Valley DREAM Team showed us the beauty in the beat, the rhythm of our movement.  They reminded us of the need to keep drumming.  So keep singing of freedom, keep grooving everyone, remember there are things we must continue to do before the dawn.

For pictures see “Pictures”

For more events see “Events coming UP”

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DREAM Act Week of Action: First Event

DREAM Act: A Staged Reading by James Garcia

Host: Arizona DREAM Act Coalition East Valley DREAM Team

Fifteen minutes later and I finally found the room!  Driving into the parking lot, the campus of Mesa Community College did not seem that big.  I thought I could just park and see where all the students were congregated.  It did not turn out to be that easy.  I had to use the map!  Here’s my route:  find the parking that doesn’t say “employee parking only,”  walk into campus, ask a random student where the Najavo room is, look at the map, walk north, find the bell tower (yes, a bell tower), go into the building of the bell tower, take the stairs down, and make a right.  Phew…The Navajo room was in the lower level of the bell tower building.  Its entrance was on the corner opposite the cafeteria.  At first I thought it was a bid hidden, secluded, not a good place for an event to bring awareness to the masses.  Then I realized that the correct word was personal, and as the event ensued I decided that the location was just right.

The night started with the ADAC documentary “3 minutes of your time.”  Although I have seen that video 5 dozen times, it still gives me goose bumps when I see my friend on a big screen.  Carlos, who is almost ashamed at having to settle for less than what he is capable of, ashamed that his parents worked so hard to give him wings only to have them cut off by an ignorant and backwards immigration policy.  Virgina, frustrated and mad at the injustice of being a great engineer but not being able to build a way out of her situation.  At one point she starts crying, and no one is sure if it’s because of fear, sadness, anger, or a little of all.  In the tears that roll down her cheek you see the reflection of DREAMers all across the nation.

I’m not sure if the actors cancelled or if that’s how it was planned all along, but James Garcia’s play was performed like I’ve never seen. There were no props, no diverse lighting, no music, and no costumes.  The actors took the stage, and sat down in the row of chairs facing the audience.  It was very…personal.  In a “Vagina Monologues” style show, James presented the story of a homeless DREAM student who slept in the library and showered in the gym.  The actors were right in front of you, they were naked, and they were raw.

For the first time ever, Marina took the stage to share her story.  Marina has been an advocate for the DREAM Act for years.  If I said she once was a DREAMer she’d correct me and say she still is.  It has not been long since Marina gained her legal status, and she says she will always be a DREAMer.  In telling us of the day she received her papers: “I looked at the paper and it said ‘Welcome to America.’  Welcome to America?  That was funny to me because I had been in America for over a decade.  But I knew there was more to that message.  It was god telling me welcome to responsibility, welcome to giving back, welcome to helping bring change.  And we need change.”

There were about 300 seats.  They were not all filled, but that didn’t matter.  It could have been 1,000 people in that room, yet when you saw Virginia on that screen, when you heard the actors speak, and when you felt Marina’s emotion when she shared her story, it was just you and them.  That’s what made the event a success.  It was Virginia’s tears, it was the group of actors that transported you into a world built by their words and your imagination, and it was the mixture of Marina’s fragility and courage.  And it was the message of change.

Great Job East Valley DREAM Team.  The night was yours, and every person in that room was there with you.

For more pics click on “Pictures” and visit http://www.azdreamactcoalition.org/

For other great events coming out check out the “Events” page