Within the growing DREAM momentum, the need for an Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) space is being recognized now more than ever. In the University of California (UC) system, even though AAPI students comprise around forty percent of all AB540 students, the AAPI representation within the DREAM movement is not very visible. In order to break the stereotype that the undocumented issues do not only affect one Latino/Latina community, and that a multitude of communities are affected by the broken immigration system, the AAPI representation is critical.
Among AAPI undocumented students, many may feel coming out and revealing one’s own status is very difficult because it requires a coming out of the shadows as an undocumented student often into their immediate Asian American community. Thus, the coming out of the shadows requires an extra courageous step being Asian American. Because AAPI community members in general tends to be hesitant to come out and become involved in activism, a safe space for AAPI undocumented youth to come together is very important. As they come together and empower each other as brothers and sisters undergoing the same struggles, they will be more equipped to become activists to create a stronger DREAM movement. One safe space I have found is with the undocumented Korean American students I’ve come to know through Korean Resource Center. But I know there are so many more AAPI undocumented students out there who do not have a network of support.
So on my campus, within IDEAS, a group for undocumented students, my friend and I decided to create an AAPI space for undocumented students because we know that this is the first important step toward stronger organizing. Again, AAPI undocumented youths have distinct struggles that they face within their culture while being undocumented. In order to overturn this trend, and to empower the AAPI community for a stronger DREAM movement, the AAPI space that we are creating is a first step for creating that change. Our hope in creating this space is so that we can create a ripple effect of other campuses and organizations to understand the need for a safe and comfortable space for AAPI to empower themselves within the bigger movement.
If you are reading this and feel the same need for an AAPI undocumented space, take the challenge, step up and make the first move to look around you and try to reach out to the AAPI undocumented population. Undocumented student groups that already exist can be great resources for collaborating and brainstorming. Whether it is from creating a AAPI space within an already established undocumented support group or creating a group altogether, I can almost guarantee that when you look around and reach out, there are many who have long wanted a safe space for AAPI undocumented students but were hesitant to come out. When you reach out a hand, there may be many who would like to grab it and walk alongside you.
For information on what is going on with Congress, the DREAM Act and how you can help, please visit http://bit.ly/novdream
Already know what’s happening? Start making your calls to Senator Reid by using the suggested script and call-in number below provided by DREAM University – http://on.fb.me/ourdreamnow
To Senator Reid (866-877-5552):
“Hi, my name is ________________. I´m calling to Congratulate Senator Reid for his reelection and to remind him that we will hold him accountable for his promise to bring the DREAM Act for a vote during the lame duck session of the 111th Congress. Thank You!”
Afterwards, update your status:
¨I called Senator Reid at 1 866- 877- 5552 and asked him to bring up the DREAM Act for a vote during the 111th Congress. Please do the same.¨