Celebrating the Dream 9: Immigration Reform and Beyond

Photo Courtesy:  National Immigrant Youth Alliance

Photo Courtesy: National Immigrant Youth Alliance

Like many of you, we at SONG have continued following the tide of the national immigration debate as it rose to the spotlight and fell to the wayside in a matter of months. We’ve witnessed our people’s resilience in the continued push for a reform bill that would be in line with our visions for liberation and immigrant justice, a reform that would acknowledge and help stop the reality of mass deportations, mass detentions and the forced separation of countless families. Thousands of our young people have continued to graduate from high schools all across this country, only to end up working minimum wage jobs because of anti-immigrant legislation and policies that ban them from seeking higher education, and economic mobility.  We at SONG will continue demanding an immigration reform solution that honors and affects the lives of the eleven million undocumented people who are emerging out of the shadows to tell the stories of our collective struggle.

 Today, we celebrate the Dream 9, a group of visionary young people who have stepped up to take a collective risk in order to amplify the demand for true immigration reform and immigrant justice. In an historic action on the U.S.-Mexico border coordinated by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA), the Dream 9 challenged U.S. immigration policy by using their individual life struggles as undocumented young people, and as the children of undocumented folks living the U.S., to demand that this critical political moment where collective struggle has seeded a demand for true justice is met by a legislative answer worthy of our people.

From mass mobilizations demanding immigration reform to organizing against the criminalization of undocumented people, people of color and immigrant people; we know that it is the people who decide to take action and collective risk that make our social movements happen. The Dream 9 reminded us of that, all of the nine brave souls, including our dear friend, comrade, SONG member and political familia, Lulu Martinez.   After spending two weeks in detention (eight days of which Lulu spent in solitary confinement), the Dream 9 were released and are now free on U.S. soil. They will return to their families and homes, continue to fight their cases on grounds of political asylum, and will continue to fight for justice for ALL immigrant people living in the U.S. We celebrate all of us who are fighting for TRUE Immigration Reform, one that works to keeps families together, ends the criminalization of immigrants of color, halts unjust detention practices (including solitary confinement and the treatment of transgender detainees), expands the base of people who have access to political asylum, and supports every person living in the U.S.’s right to good education, fair work, safety and dignity.

We also offer this video as a love letter to our immigrant communities, LGBTQ communities, and communities of color about our inter-connected destinies: we learn from the bravery and political will of our communities all the time, and we are proud to stand with the Dream 9.

https://vimeo.com/69580628

For more information and news of the Dream 9

http://politic365.com/2013/08/09/dream9-lulu-martinez-speaks-with-rachel-maddow/

http://kawc.org/post/dream-9-released-detention-center

 For more information on The National Immigrant Youth Alliance and their work visit www.theniya.org