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CAD Walk 2012: Time to Stand up and Fight Back

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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.

Today’s post is from Jonatan Martinez, a DREAMer from Georgia who recently came out as undocumented.

Learn more about the Campaign for an American DREAM here, and follow them on Twitter at @CADWalk2012.

The weeks continue to pass and we are approaching three months on the road. But what does three months really mean to me? This is a question that is hard to answer.

Today I was reminded of the oppression undocumented immigrants are continuing to face in our communities and our nation. I saw a video on Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his “Concentration Camp”, as he called it. Tent City is now a detention center for undocumented people who are currently in the process of being deported. Why is America allowing Joe Arpaio to run a concentration camp in this nation and treating fellow human being in the most inhumane way? He makes his detainees wear pink in an effort to belittle them. Not to mention, these tents get as hot as 120 degrees in the summer due to Arizona’s hot deserts.

These detention centers are simply a way for greedy individuals like Arpaio to use humans as a way of making money. So I ask America: Why are we letting this happen in our nation? What Arpaio is doing is not American, in the least.

The Campaign for an American Dream is currently in Denver, Colorado and today will be the first time we visit an immigration detention center. GEO Detention Facility is in Aurora, Colorado and it recently expanded to hold more people. We are going to be standing with people outside of the for-profit prison to give detainees inside hope for justice.

This is such an important event for me since I too was once inside those  four walls. I know the feelings of being separated from one’s family and friends, with little hope of communicating with them. I don’t want to continue letting people be used for profit.

The truth is that being an American isn’t a piece of paper or a card. It is a way of life — the way we think, live and interact with our communities. I can not stand by and watch as the Arpaios of the world mistreat others. As an American, I must act.

I am Undocumented and Unafraid. I will come out of the shadows every day if I have to — in every state and in every city — against those who mistreat members of my community.