Today we arrived in Washington DC on an overnight flight at 8:00am EST. We ate breakfast in the car and watched the beautiful DC sunrise inside the van. The Dream Riders which included Simon Jun, Anna Jung, Ga Young Chung, and I visited the Eisenhower Building next to the White House for the AAPI Interns briefing. We were all very nervous as it was our first scheduled event as Dream Riders. I introduced the Dream Riders and asked participants to share their stories. I was surprised that so many people in the audience were either children of immigrants or were immigrants themselves. After we have introduced ourselves, and Simon and I had shared our stories, a person in the audience shared that he was undocumented during the Q & A. Each day, another young person is gaining the courage to speak out and show that they are unafraid. Although there was some trepidation, it was a great feeling of accomplishment to have finished our first event as Dream Riders.
The next event was a meeting with the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The Dream Riders waited nervously and once he arrived it was informal and we felt comfortable. We each shared our immigration experiences, and I was amazed at how compellingly each Dream Rider spoke. The Secretary gave us such warm words of encouragement and conveyed his support for the Dream Riders.
The last event was with our sister organizations, KRCC from Chicago and NAKASEC. The KRCC youth had a very rough day with their bus engine breaking down, but they were still energetic to hear about the Dream Riders and why we are going on the road trip. After, we broke into small groups and reflected on our activities for the day, shared how we felt. During this process, I felt that the Dream Riders were really coming together as we examined ourselves individually and as a group. It was definitely a tiring and long day for the Dream Riders, but it was also a day of unforgettable learning.