Friday, March 26, 2010

Trail of Dreams

Good news for Leslie
Posted on March 24, 2010 by alejo

In my first semester at Miami Dade College I found Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER). At first, I was skeptical. What could ten barefoot college kids sitting in a tiny apartment in the heart of Little Havana possibly change? I was also reluctant to become involved because of the risk it might pose—would authorities target my family and me for my activism?

By January 2009, I was one of millions in the red-white-and-blue national mall—witnessing the inauguration of President Obama; his historic election reaffirmed me that dreams can become a reality if you fight for them. Fighting for my dream, I marched. I was one of hundreds asking the new administration to halt the senseless raids and deportations. Armed with “Reform! Not Raids!” fliers and pins, I handed them to a group of brown-faced construction workers we walked by. They smiled – I could see the hope in their eyes. We reached the headquarters of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and I could feel the dry, icy, DC winter wind beating my face. I could also feel the penetrating cold stares of the ICE agents that surrounded the building. Neither the cold nor the fear paralyzed me. I waved the truck-sized U.S. flag and chanted Sí se puede! at the top of my lungs. It felt liberating to stand for what I believe in.

A year later, I continue that fight.

To this day, Obama still has not kept his promise, and students like Leslie are falling through the holes of the collander of our immigration system -- into detention centers.

Thankfully, because of collective grassroots actions led by SWER, FIAC, and friends, Leslie has been released from detention this Wednesday -- a week and a half later after she was unfairly detained.

It is actions that have released Leslie out of detention. It is the collective actions of individuals that have changed the status quo in the past. Don't be afraid to act, melt the antagonizing ice, and humanize those that have been dehumanized.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
-Margaret Mead
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