Although the Senate failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to achieve cloture on the DREAM Act on Saturday, DREAM supporters are refusing to go down without a fight. As disappointment turns to anger, DREAM Activists are again turning up the heat with statements aimed at “political leaders who chose to obstruct progress for personal gain” and messages such as “We Won’t Forget How You Voted.” Thousands of DREAM supporters—who participated in a massive mobilization effort for the bill’s passage—are also turning a critical eye to the administration as they look ahead toward the road to reform.
According to one DREAM student:
“They did not defeat us, they ignited our fire,” said Alina Cortes, a 19-year-old Mexican-born immigrant from Texas who lacks legal status. A self-described conservative Republican, she campaigned for the student bill, saying she hoped to join the Marine Corps.
The national coordinator for the student group United We Dream, Carlos Saavedra, also commented:
We have woken up. We are going to go around the country letting everybody know who stands with us and who stood against us.
Even Congressional leaders like Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), commented that this vote will flavor how Latinos vote in 2012:
“This is a vote that will not soon be forgotten by a community that is growing not just in size, but also in power and political awareness,” Mr. Menendez said.
In recent months, DREAM supporters and advocacy groups have demonstrated how quickly and in what quantity they can mobilize. Recent DREAM mobilization efforts include Congressional visits and thousands of telephone calls, celebrity endorsements, candlelight vigils, sit- pray- and study-ins, hunger strikes, and demonstrations which have garnered national attention like the “Trail of Dreams” and the delivery of large checks emphasizing DREAM’s economic benefits.
And now, many groups like United We Dream are regrouping and recharging for the next fight:
Our campaign may be coming to an end but a new stage in our movement for dignity and human rights is about to begin. We will continue fighting for our dreams, and we will be able to mobilize an army of dreamers. Some of them will be future doctors, engineers, educators, and business leaders that will create jobs and opportunities. Some of them will be future soldiers and generals to represent us in the military. All of them will fight for a stronger and more united America. Our hopes for the future are based on a history this nation of immigrants has already lived. That is why we hope, that is why we dream. We see the light while walking in darkness. We see the dawn before the rest of the world.
In America, fairness cuts both ways. It’s a country where one disenfranchised group of people can eventually change the course of history, where speaking truth to power and giving voice to justice is not only allowed, but encouraged. And no one knows this better than DREAM students—bright and talented youth who grew up in America and call America home, who know that the American dream is a dream worth fighting for.
Photo by DreamActivist