Post from Christina Quintanilla, UCLA student and DREAM ally:
On Tuesday May 24th, I participated in Immigrant Day in Sacramento. My group was appointed to advocate for the Dream Act in the office of Assemblyman Blumenfield. We were joined by a group from CHIRLA (Campaign for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles). Our aim was to ask for Senator Blumenfield’s support on the AB 131 Bill. This bill would allow undocumented students who have attended at least 3 years of school, to apply for financial aid. At the time, this bill was about to receiving a hearing by the Committee of appropriations. We asked Blumenfield’s representative for support on this bill and some brave dreamers shared about their experiences as undocumented students. Having the opportunity to lobby at the capital showed me that the political process allows for voices of everyday individuals to be heard. It taught me that everyone is allowed to voice their opinions.
Through this experience, I learned that the immigrant community has a strength of spirit and are wisdom in matters of justice. I saw a tremendous amount of heart and courage in the immigrant community. The immigrant youth issues were presented barriers to pursuing their dreams and contributing to society. The Dream Act was framed as a means of allowing bright students to have the quality of life that everyone else is freely given. The brave students who shared about the undocumented experience were both inspiring and heartwarming. Similarly, being joined by CHIRLA taught me about issues in the immigrant community faces in the workplace. Three immigrant women from CHIRLA shared about the horrors of being mistreated, overworked, and underpaid by their employers. I saw these women share from their hearts. Their actions provided voices for the thousands of immigrants in the same position that have been silenced. I feel thankful and honored to have had the opportunity to stand with these beautiful people.
Participating in Immigrant day allowed me to see the struggle of the undocumented community in a real and tangible way. I’m learning more and more that if any community is being mistreated or oppressed that their struggle must be mine too.
I was also ecstatic to see that the AB 131 Bill was passed this week! I feel honored to have been a part of this movement in California’s history and even more excited for the opportunities this will give to undocumented youth pursuing higher education.