On Saturday November 13, 2010, the 5th annual Stylos Awards were presented in the downtown Phoenix Art Museum.  The awards ceremony recognized Latino spirit and talent in the valley.  Aside from shedding light on Latino culture and progressive issues, Stylos simultaneously raises funds to aid Latino scholars, such as the Isaac Amaya Scholarship.  The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (ADAC) won the award for “Best Organization of the Year” and Daniel Rodriguez won “Activist of the Year.” This prestigious recognition of the ADAC and one of their leaders is a reflection of the arduous work and dedication ADAC members in their roles as agents of change.

 

The bipartisan Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (ADAC) has partnered with Somos Republican, a network of Hispanic Republican groups headquartered in Arizona, in an effort to gain bipartisan support for the passage of the DREAM Act.  The project “Conservatives for the DREAM” includes the creation of a website, a series of town halls in Republican districts, and a billboard to generate discussion of the DREAM Act within conservative, specifically Republican, communities.

Dulce Matuz, political and policy adviser for the ADAC, states that “the DREAM Act began as bipartisan legislation, if it is to pass this year we must keep that bipartisan spirit alive.”  Bipartisanship will be needed if the DREAM Act is put for a vote.  Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid had stated that he will put the DREAM Act in the Senate floor but that he will need a handful of Republican votes.

Somos Republicans founder DeeDee Blasé joined the project to garner enough support in conservative communities in order to acquire the needed Republican votes.  “As a conservative organization, we believe the DREAM Act does not grant young people any entitlements, but rather an earned legalization through hard work, discipline, and dedication to our great nation” says Blasé.

The ADACs efforts to reach across the aisle have received negative reactions within the traditionally-liberal DREAM Act base of supporters.  “I support the DREAM Act but we shouldn’t pretend like the Republican party cares about immigrants, not after all that is going on in Arizona” states Joel Guerrero, advocate for the DREAM Act.  Jose Patino, member of the ADAC, has a different view of the project, stating “our efforts to communicate with the Republican Party lately go beyond the need for congressional votes.  We are all Americans, we are all human, and we all believe in American values.  If we are to create any long-term change we need to get out of our comfort zone and talk to each other.”

Matuz says “we need Republican votes now to pass the DREAM Act and we need Republican support later to change the immoral conditions and ineffective laws that irresponsible politicians have created.”

“We need Republican leadership that is willing to listen to what Republicans support” states Matuz.  Republican Senator John McCain has long-time been considered a Republican leader in this issue.  Senator McCain has sponsored the DREAM Act in the past but walked out of a vote in 2007.  His current position is to secure the border first before dealing with any prospects of legalization for some of the immigrants here. A June 2010 FIRSTFOCUS report indicated that 70% of the people surveyed supported the DREAM Act, with 60% of the Republican participants supporting it.  Rasmussen Poll showed that 78% of Americans support undocumented students legalizing through military service.

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi has also recently promised to put the DREAM Act up for a vote during the lame duck session.  The expected DREAM Act vote in the Senate and in the House will show whether there are any Republicans in Congress that are willing to drop the enforcement-only approach and work towards solving one of our nation’s toughest challenges in a more reasonable manner.  For many, the DREAM Act is the first step.

“Illegal is illegal, why can’t you understand that,” Arizona Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce. “Mr. Pearce how can you blame the sins of our fathers on us,” Daniela Cruz, ADAC member. As projected the GOP enjoyed a great victory in the 2010 midterm elections, gaining 60 House seats, from 189 to 239, as well as 5 Senate seats, taking the grand total from 41 to 46.


ADAC reached out to the conservative base during the midterm elections. “We believe the DREAM Act is a bipartisan bill, hence we attempt to garner support from the GOP,” David Guerrero. After Governor Jan Brewer completed her acceptance speech during the Republican Victory Celebration, ADAC members were able to speak to Russell Pearce behind the scenes. “You seem like a nice girl, I just want to stop all the criminals from entering the country,” Arizona Senator Pearce, regarding Daniela Cruz.  Russell Pearce was irate at the DREAMers that confronted him on immigration issues, specifically his role in passing Prop 300, which denied DREAMers public scholarships and in-state tuition.  The video confrontation has become a Youtube hit.

The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (ADAC) held a March to the Polls on November 2, 2010 to encourage all of their supporters, Republican and Democrat alike, to march to the voting polls together in support of bipartisanship for the DREAM Act.  Dulce Matuz, political and policy adviser, stated ““We can’t have bipartisanship at the top without having bipartisanship at the bottom.  Democratic and Republican DREAM Act supporters in Phoenix will show Washington that we can come together to solve tough issues.  This march is just the beginning of a series of bipartisanship events in support of the DREAM Act.”

“Granting citizenship to individuals who broke the law will undermine American Values.” “The Law is the Law, and you illegal’s broke the law.” “I personally feel for the undocumented students, but the culprits of your situation are your parents, take it up with them.” This has been the conservative rhetoric over the past years regarding immigrants and the DREAM Act. On November 01, 2010 the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (ADAC) organized a town hall where Conservatives, Liberals, Progressives and Libertarians across the state united on the Tempe Campus of Arizona State University.

There are many misconceptions of what the DREAM Act will provide to undocumented youth if enacted.  The mission of the town hall series is to clarify the fallacies. The passage of the DREAM Act is of too great importance for misunderstandings to be held back in Congress another year.  The ADAC believes that to reach out to the conservative is necessary to come to an understanding.  Conservatives value education and military service; as do dreamers across the nation.

On July 16th members of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition will head to Washington D.C.  We will join thousands of students on the steps of Capitol Hill, demanding that Congress and the White House move on the DREAM Act as the first step towards Immigration Reform.

We head to Washington D.C. not with the Arpaio state of mind, but with the state of mind to move this movement forward.  There cannot be freedom in fear, but we know we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.  There is, however, no change here.  So Washington D.C. it is.  Do not ask us to sit down, but instead have the courage to Stand Up with us.


We cannot lower our heads at the possibility of failure, we cannot howl any excuse.  For many of us this is a time to exhale, not a dead avail of pursued truth.  We have marched in Phoenix, rallied in Nevada, but there is a great gulf in this world between Washington D.C. and the desert that we live in.  We will take this fight to Washington.

Thousands of DREAM students are graduating from high schools and colleges throughout the nation.  They will join a group that continues to see more and more doors closed.  This year, hundreds of students in Arizona, particularly in Arizona State University, will lose their scholarships funded by private sources.

They will face a world that isn’t fair; they may lose hope and say “I just don’t care.”  But we have our youth and we have our health.  There is no reason to wonder in the blues, we fight so that the DREAM will finally get through.

Our families have seen things that might break you, rattle and make you, wonder why the heck this is called the land of opportunity, the land of the free and the home of the brave.  It is us.  Is the vision that we paint, the question that we pose, of the Nation that we are and the nation that we could be.

Our minds have felt beat and sore, but our soul keeps commanding it off the floor and says keep marching on, keep dreaming, keep demanding a chance for more, keep sailing these storms for shore.

The DREAM is coming to Washington D.C.  Please make a donation to the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition by clicking HERE.

The DREAM is Coming

June 29, 2010

This is the press conference that the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition organized for the DREAM Act 5–the students arrested in Senator McCain’s office in Tucson.

Spirits: Miguel

June 28, 2010

 

Below is the story of an educated and compassionate DREAMer.  It is part of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition’s “Spirits” campaign.  Aside from the hard work that DREAMers demonstrate there is also a story.  There is a story of a little kid that wants to be accepted, of a student that wants to contribute his intelligence to better this world, of a daughter that wants to help her family live a better life.  Above the work, the struggle and perseverance there is the Spirit.  Free the DREAM.


Spirit: Miguel

Miguel first shared his story with a group of us from the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition.  Miguel conveys emotion, vulnerability, and resilience when he shares his story.  Miguel, as long as you have hope, dreams, and friends you will never be alone!