ADAC DREAM Act Week of Action: DREAM Act Play

February 26, 2010

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

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4 Responses to “ADAC DREAM Act Week of Action: DREAM Act Play”

  1. Y said

    I love your blog!

  2. Y said

    In deed, this was very personal to many of the attendees, at least I know it was for me, being a former Dreamer myself. Today I cherish what god has blessed me with, a blessing that I know I must care for with my life. It has been my experience as a former dreamer that has kept me on the right path, the path to success. I know that I must continue educating myself and others and if I let myself down, I let my family down and all the dreamers down, for they fight for what I luckily have. I must show them and the world that the fight does not end after “legalization”, the fight continues as long as the Dream lives on. 🙂

    By the way I love, love the blog! Great Job Tiger!

  3. Genie Zavaleta said

    Yes – it was a good evening!

    Yes – the play was planned as a reading. There are so many requests for the play that the unpaid actors cannot always get off their regular jobs. The reading was effective. There were some of the experienced actors plus some new ones who did well.
    We have to be grateful to James Garcia and his loyal cast.
    I know we are better prepared when the vote is called in Congress for either the DREAM ACT or CIR.
    I think we can be the ones who will flood the phone
    lines instead of the opposition that flooded the lines in 2008. Just keep educating people!!
    And be sure the DREAM ACT is in any CIR bill.

  4. Stephanie A. said

    It really surprises me how a group of about 50 students (at least the most active ones) can get together and organize such amazing events. Even though I wasn’t able to attend, I really do think this was a great event. It allowed for people to see and hear from students who have experienced first hand what it’s like to be undocumented. We hear so much about these students but rarely have the chance to hear directly from them and I think that, in itself, is invaluable.
    I’m so PROUD of the ARIZONA DREAM ACT COALITION for always working so hard regardless of any obstacles we might face along the way!

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