[click here to download poster]
I first saw Laura Lopez in her cap and gown after following a twitter to this article.
At the time, undocumented migrant students were conducting sit-ins in congressional offices on Capitol Hill, risking arrest and deportation in order to draw attention to the DREAM Act.
Because I was working alongside the Trail of Dreams campaign, I knew very well the dreams of these undocumented youth – dreams that were worth even the most dangerous risks.
But still, there are moments when I am greatly moved by the sheer courage of these young people. I grew up in this country as a citizen. I have never known the fear of what it means to be stopped in the street by immigration agents, to be taken from everything you have known as a child and put in detention centers that ship you off to countries you have never even visited.
One afternoon, as I was getting my daily fix of immigration news, I saw Laura in this article, and I stared at her graduation photo for a long time. Laura reminded me of a Chicana girl I had gone to high school with. I think I also took a liking to Laura because she went to the UC system, like me! This is what her caption read:
Laura came to America as a 1 year old baby on Independence Day. Since then, she has finished high school, graduated from the UC Santa Cruz, and become an advocate for her right to contribute to the country.
So I put her picture in my inspiration folder and was finally able to use it to make this piece, which will appear in an exhibit at the California Institute for Integral Studies. A modified version of this image is about to go all over public transit trains in the San Francisco Bay Area. So this message is about to get viewed at least 10,000 times a day by BART riders.
I communicated with Laura and this is what she said when I asked her for an update on her case.
This month I turned 23 years old. I’m still undocumented. While I’m in the processes of legalizing, since I am from Mexico and there is a huge backlog, my 2005 application will not be read by an immigration judge for another estimated 18 years. I need the DREAM Act so that my time is reduced to the 6 years, albeit conditional permanet residency. I am part of the Bay Area DREAM Act Coaltion. I was able to apply and graduate from UC Santa Cruz, but like all other undocumented youth I couldn’t qualify for federal or state financial aid so my parents and I both worked to pay all costs.
It’s simple and easy to do. My crew at Presente.org set up this cool call-in system for you to document the call.
Click here to get numbers to your rep!
Here is a pic of Laura (right) doing a sit-in at Senator Reid’s office on July 20, 2010. She can use your financial support. Due to “trespassing” charges following the civil demonstration, Laura is attending trials in D.C. Donations towards airfare & lodging appreciated. Donate by clicking here
And you can download this poster and share with your friends too! click here