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4 Steps to Changing the World Together

By December 9, 2010One Comment
By Joyce
New Organizing Project blogger
Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 216-198 and passed the DREAM Act. It is a huge victory, but our work is not done yet.

The U.S. Senate is also expected to vote soon on whether or not to pass the DREAM Act. The Act can only be signed into law if both the U.S. House of Representatives AND the Senate vote to pass it.

Just think, if the DREAM Act passes, so many more undocumented youth could have a chance at attaining higher education. At receiving financial aid. At not having to live in constant fear of being torn away from their families. At gaining a path toward citizenship. At a chance for a brighter future.

But, we have just one last hurdle to overcome. Even if you are not undocumented, there are so many ways you can help and be a good ally to this movement and any other movement for that matter. We need EVERYONE to work together and make these DREAMs come true.

Here is what you can do to help:

1) Recognize that you can do something to help.

Sometimes I find that it’s easy to become overwhelmed by everything

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that’s going on in the world and all the injustice that exists that I wish I could just curl up in a ball and make everything go away. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The continued war in Iraq. North Korea’s recent attacks on South Korea. How the state of Illinois is broke and cutting social services. There’s always a laundry list of things happening and things to take action on. But, rather than ignore the problem, it’s always important to take a step back and realize that YOU can do something about it, no matter how big or small the impact. That is the only way change will ever happen. Something as ‘small’ as signing a petition, calling your congressperson or Senator, attending a workshop, signing up for a listserv, even just telling your friends about the cause you’re advocating for, are all great first steps.

2) Educating yourself.

After recognizing that you do have the agency to effect change, one of the best ways you can be a good ally to any movement is to educate yourself. Knowledge is power. It seems cliche but, you know what? It’s true. The more you know, the more you know about how to help and how to advocate for a cause. But, to me, the most important part of this process is learning how you can be a more respectful human being towards other people. That’s really what it comes down to. Learn more about how the DREAM Act will provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth. About how the DREAM Act will actually benefit the economy. About how this is about equality and justice for all.

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3) Language is powerful.

Fellow NOP blogger, Angela, wrote a great piece about how we need to all stop using the word, ‘illegal.’ Let’s get one thing straight: NO ONE is illegal. Every person that walks this earth is a human being. The I-word is dehumanizing, criminalizing and only serves to reinforce negative imagery and stereotypes of undocumented immigrants. By using the word against someone, you are telling yourself that this person is less than human, thus, they don’t deserve the respect of an actual person. So then it’s okay to treat them without dignity, to create laws and policies that say it’s okay to punish them because they are sub-human. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, language is powerful and by continuing to use derogatory language like ‘illegal’ and ‘alien,’ simply put, it reinforces hate.

4) Call your Senator.

As mentioned in my first point, any action you take, no matter how ‘small’ you feel it is, is significant. It’s important to remember that there is always power in numbers. When advocating for justice, you can never do it alone. With the DREAM Act, it is no different. We need YOU to call your Senator and make one last push. Why? Because these elected officials have the power to affect real policy change within the government and our lives. Don’t know your Senator? Don’t know the number? No problem. You can visit here or call 866-587-6101 and they will connect you with the right person. Seriously, your call could make the difference.

The Senate will be voting on the DREAM Act soon. Be an ally to the movement and recognize that you can do something to help, educate yourself and call your Senator. ALL of us can do something to help. After a ten year struggle, let’s all work together and make these DREAMs a reality.

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