By David Cho New Organizing Project blogger ==============================================
Refer back to my previous post “Flying as an undocumented Asian Pacific American” on May 20. Please peruse over it if you haven’t read it before.
Salk Lake City, Utah was definitely not my last stop. I must continue to share my story. Since May, I have been very lucky to fly to and speak in Indianapolis along with Kent and Nancy at the Lumina Convening, and in Boston last weekend at the NASFAA National Conference in front of 2,400 college financial aid administrators.
In Boston, Nancy and I both shared our stories as undocumented students. We also highlighted the legacies of Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, reintroduced Underground Undergrads, UCLA publication on undocumented students written by undocumented students, and a new publication, which will be available at the end of September, titled “Undocumented and Unafraid: Tam Tran, Cinthya Felix, and the Immigrant Youth Movement.” The UCLA Labor Center plans to host a national book tour in October to showcase the book and allow Dream Act students to share their stories at the venue. About 30-50 people came up to us after our speech with interest.
Let’s rewind a bit. So Nancy and I had a conference call with Justin, President of NASFAA, a few weeks before the conference about our speech. Justin specifically asked us not to advocate for the Dream Act or any type of immigration reform, but rather to simply share our stories and the adversities we faced. We agreed. Actually, an hour before our speech, Nancy and I also agreed, that we would chant “DREAM ACT NOW! DREAM ACT NOW!” at the end of our speech, half-jokingly.
We didn’t. Justin spoke after Nancy and me. Justin, President of NASFAA, stood in front of his 2,400 NASFAA members and started crying. “Don’t their stories touch you?” he asked. Then he went on advocating for the Dream Act himself. Wow.
I learned that our stories were powerful. They change people’s hearts and compel them to support and advocate for the Dream Act.
Speaking of our stories, Ju, my friend and fellow Dreamer at UC Berkeley, did a civil disobedience along with 6 other brave Dreamers in San Bernardino 2 weekends ago. Ju’s story on YouTube inspired me to start speaking out a couple of years ago.
Im now writing this blog in Oakland 30 minutes before the start of the APALA Convention. I will be sharing my story tomorrow at the convention in front of 700 people, in hopes of inspiring Dreamers and allies and changing people’s hearts. I hope you, as a reader, can share my story as well.