Dream Summer

By June 17, 2011 No Comments

 

By David Cho
New Organizing Project blogger
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100 Dreams deferred last December.

100 Dream Act student leaders in the UCLA Downtown Labor Center.

100 Future leaders.

From June 16-18, the UCLA Downtown Labor Center and United We Dream are hosting a three-day retreat for 100 Dream Act student leaders in Los Angeles, California. For the first time in U.S. history, immigrant youth leaders will participate in Dream Summer: the first national internship for Dream Act student leaders across the country. One hundred youth leaders will gain an invaluable internship experience during the summer in different cities across the country including Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Phoenix, Miami, New York, and Washington D.C.

Photo credit: Pocho1 @ http://www.pocho1.com/

 

Three full days filled with amazing workshops and renowned speakers such as Reverend James Lawson will prepare young students for their internship from June 20 to September 2.

June 20 marks a pivotal point in U.S. history for many Dream Act student leaders. Most of these students never had an internship experience due to the lack of social security numbers. Most of them gain leadership experience through organizing and volunteering in different communities for issues like the Dream Act. With thousands of Dream Act eligible high school and college students graduating, most relegate to working in the underground economy like my friend Jong-Min.

Jong-Min is one of the 100 Dream Summer interns. Jong-Min’s parents brought him to the U.S. from South Korea when he was only 1 year old. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee with a degree in sociology and psychology with the concentration in criminal justice. His dream is to serve as a federal judge. Unfortunately, Jong-Min cannot exercise his full-potential skills; he is shackled by our broken immigration system. He works in a grocery store to make ends meet.

Jong-Min’s article link here.

The UCLA Labor Center and United We Dream hope to replicate the Dream Summer model to other parts of the country including Texas, Georgia, and one day, to all 50 states. Dream Summer in Hawaii sounds relaxing right now.

When the Federal Dream Act passes, thousands of Dream Act students will have the internship experience (from this summer) to contribute to our country in many ways. They will start small businesses, work in hundreds of industries, contribute to our economy, pay taxes, and one day, fulfill their American Dream.

With the help of our hardworking team members Carlos A., Nancy, Faby, Delia, Carlos S., Jose Luis, and Kent, the UCLA Labor Center and United We Dream ignited an unprecedented project for the country. Personally, meeting 100 leaders this weekend has been one of my most fulfilling experiences. Together as one, we’re all slowly, but surely, steering our nation into the right direction.