by Justin Valas

Brave youth, standing up and loudly proclaiming that they are “Undocumented and Unafraid” are the driving force behind this movement. There are also others in this movement as well- providing support and encouragement for the brave youth clamoring for their rights and recognition. These allies come from all walks of life and have different connections pulling them into the movement.

Despite Tuesday’s failure of former and tepid allies in the United States Senate to get to work on repairing our shamefully broken immigration laws regarding young people – this is not over.

Photo by Justin Valas

In fact, actions are escalating. The pressure and momentum behind the DREAM Act continues to grow. Recently, student activists in North Carolina have begun taking direct action to support the struggle of their undocumented peers. Students at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and Duke University have begun a series of die-in‘s for the DREAM Act.

The first events happened simultaneously in both Chapel Hill and Durham. Thursday, September 16th saw 10 students at Duke University and 20 at UNC- Chapel Hill die-in for the DREAMs of their undocumented peers. On Sunday the 19th, 25 activists converged on Triangle Town Center Mall. A further 50 gathered on Monday the 20th on The Streets at Southpoint. Tuesday the 21st saw a total of 15 advocates die-in at two different times on Duke University’s campus.

Photo by J. Valas

More than 100 people have taken action, “dying” in solidarity with the 2.1 million youth across this country waiting for our leaders to stop playing political games with their futures. They have reached new audiences and invited them to take a stand for a better future for us all. That is powerful.

Photo by J. Valas

It makes me proud to see the success of these events. Especially as we see more leaders take ownership in this movement- to see them start making plans, coordinating, and continuing to escalate. This is a message we need Senator Hagan to see, one that she can’t ignore. This movement is growing and diversifying. We are more than just our group in North Carolina. Students and citizens are calling for justice for these immigrant youth, for the DREAMers. Stories are appearing in student newspapers supporting the DREAM Act. We are continuing to raise awareness and utilize more tools to find a way to break through to Senator Hagan.  The students of North Carolina don’t fear the inclusion of their undocumented peers- so why does our Senator?

Photo by J. Valas

Senator Hagan- please, speak with us; listen to our stories; and open your mind and heart. The DREAM Act is a good thing, the just thing, for North Carolina and the United States. It is a good and just thing for the millions of youth who want to contribute as full partners in the enterprise that is America. These youth dream of the American Dream- how much longer will you let that DREAM die?