We’ve been publishing a series of posts from the DREAMers of the Campaign for an American DREAM. Last month, they set off from San Francisco to begin a 3,000-mile, 8-month+ walk to Washington, DC to call attention to the DREAM Act and the need for immigration reform.
As we left the house and headed to the airport, silence had taken over, afraid of what was to come. As it began to rain I saw tears slowly roll down my mother’s face because I was leaving the nest for the first time, and heading to a place where she could no longer protect me from harm. A mother is a child’s first true best friend, and as many know I have a bad case of the mamitis, meaning I can sometimes be joined at the hip to my mother.
April 10, 2012 was my last day in the Bay Area. As I sat at the Oakland Airport waiting to board the plane I began to reflect on my lasts. My last night kissing and saying goodnight to my parents, my last night sleeping in my room, my last time making my bed, my last good morning to my dog, my last time walking out the door, the last time I would hug my Mami and Papi.
I know this journey will be emotional, physical, and mentally demanding, but I also know this journey is one that needs to be made in order unite communities of all cultures and diversities across the nation in order to empower them to fight for justice. Courage is a quality which DREAMers across the nation should find within themselves and help others find. In a poem by Caroline Kent, “Reaching Your Dream Takes Courage,” she says:
Courage is admitting that you’re afraid and facing that fear directly. It’s being strong enough to ask for help and humble enough to accept it.
Courage is standing up for what you believe in without worrying about the opinions of others. It’s following your own heart, living your own life, and settling for nothing less than the best for yourself.
Courage is daring to take a first step, a big leap, or a different path. It’s attempting to do something that no one has done before and all others thought impossible.
Courage is keeping heart in the face of disappointment and looking at defeat not as an end but as a new beginning. It’s believing that things will ultimately get better even as they get worse.
Courage is being responsible for your own actions and admitting your own mistakes without placing blame on others. It’s relying not on others for your success, but on your own skills and efforts.
Courage is refusing to quit even when you’re intimidated by impossibility. It’s choosing a goal, sticking with it, and finding solutions to the problems.
Courage is thinking big, aiming high, and shooting far. It’s taking a dream and doing anything, risking everything, and stopping at nothing to it make it a reality.
Coming out as an undocumented student and leaving everything behind, I felt fear and anxiety — but I also found the courage to show others that I exist, have a voice, and will no longer remain in the shadows. I encourage you all to join us in the largest civil right rights movement of our time and unite with us to pass the Dream Act.