We’ve been publishing a series of posts from the DREAMers of the Campaign for an American DREAM. In March, 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 Nicolas Gonzalez, a DREAMer from Chicago, Illinois.
As I walk across the country, there are many unanswered questions in my mind. I’m constantly thinking about the recent Supreme Court developments on SB 1070 and I’m attempting to keep up with the presidential campaign, all while being two months into this three thousand mile journey to Washington, D.C.
The RV, which has been our home and will be for the next 8 months, broke down on the way to a speaking engagement. With the engine shot, the other walkers and I continued our walk as the mountains surround us in the great Salt Lake City. But we’re all a little edgy as we begin to think of ways to fundraise here.
Waking up in a different place almost every day is starting to become a bit of a habit. I’m getting used to the sometimes grumpy and sometimes happy faces as we get ready to hit the road once again. We often visit communities full of undocumented people who are uneducated about the Dream Act. We have shared our stories with thousands who have not only shed tears with us, but also have shared that the time for reform is now, and that they will no longer remain in the shadows.
After our speaking engagements, some young students tell us that they have felt empowered by the work that we’re doing, and have come out about their undocumented immigrant status. It reminded me about the time two years ago, when Reyna Wences, a friend and co-founder of the Immigrant Youth Justice League said at a Coming Out of the Shadows rally, “I will not hide in the shadows any longer! I will come out every day if I have to! I’m a human being and I deserve to be happy!”
It’s not a coincidence that we will arrive in Washington D.C. just four days before the election. By walking through these hundreds of communities and educating people in small towns, we will let our politicians in the Capitol know every day that we exist; to the undocumented, we let them know that they are not alone.
Today, I walk to let our nation know that there are millions of undocumented immigrants in this country, and that I’m one out of those million people that deserve a better life in this country — our country!