A notepad went around for participants to sign-up to testify and SGA was called to order. The agenda of the night was heavy with many issues to be considered, but most students were there supporting one unified dream—to pass a resolution supporting the DREAM Act by University of Maryland’s SGA. The list of individuals was passed down to the speaker and called upon one by one to share their story.
Alumni, student group leaders, individuals and friends of DREAMers gave their testimonies. The emotions among all the participants were high and strong. Every single person who testified was in support of passing the DREAM Act. Then, 60 minutes were allotted for the student body representatives to debate on the pros and cons of the issue before moving on to vote.
Similar to some of our Congressional members, some student body representatives were misinformed or only knew bits and pieces of the DREAM Act. There was an argument against the resolution based on a rationale of ill-timed political climate of the upcoming November midterm elections. The debate did not move on to substantive aspects of the legislation, and representatives began discussing why the resolution should and must be passed. They took a stance and argued that since the student body was pushing for this, it was their duty and obligation as representatives to show support.
I have come to know and understand the DREAM Act, its history, the progress and recent disappointing outcomes in the U.S. Senate, and the rationale behind the representatives’ support struck a chord inside me. To them the decision came down to what the people they represent wanted and needed, and not about self-interest, ulterior motives or getting by another election.
Yes, student body representatives are low profile and don’t receive national media attention. However, it was quite amazing to know we have a governing body of representatives who listen, internalize and then act on behalf of people. It was refreshing, it was moving and it was one of those rare events in life where you’ll certainly think back, smile and have hope.
We, the Terrapins, have spoken about our DREAM and we have shown that we are ready to Act now then later. I hope other students will join in on our activism to show our national leaders that it is never too early or late to act. I hope they will show courage and follow the footsteps of our generation to foster a place where dreams become reality, and reality encourages us all to make our country better.
To read the University of Maryland’s resolution, click here.Other DREAM Act resources: 1. NAKASEC – To Be, We DREAM fact sheets 2. United We DREAM 3. Reform Immigration for America