by Justin Valas

When those who are protected by the law stand up for those who aren’t, things happen – Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)

It’s election day. A time when, after long fought battles to gain the right to vote, less than half of registered voters actually go out and engage the democratic process. That is why our DREAMers took to the phones and to the streets, bringing out voters to make their voices heard. This action, inspired by Voto Latino’s Vote4Me campaign, has shown that the youth fighting for the DREAM Act take the election of their representatives seriously, and desire to fully and truly engage in the country that they call home.

Photo by Justin Valas

The spectacle of so many young people outside of the polls, dressed in graduation caps and gowns, drew attention from many others in the crowd today. “Stay strong. This situation just isn’t right, I’ll remember you all when I’m voting,” one passer-by told me. We also had one excited supporter (already familiar with the DREAM Act) come up to us on her way to cast her ballot, thanking us for being out there and drawing attention to our cause.

Photo by J. Valas

Our friends and allies at El Pueblo took charge in setting up this march to the polls, while members of the DREAM Team helped phone-bank and showed up to encourage the crowd and share information about the DREAM Act. Though the DREAMers that showed up cannot vote, there were more than enough eligible voters supporting us to help amplify our voices. In fact, the ratio of voters that morning supporting us to DREAMers ended up being more than 4:1!

Photo by J. Valas

We are finished having our voices and calls for recognition ignored by politicians. This October 30th we showed that DREAMers are committed to participating in our country, and that we are not alone. At the polls, we spoke with Representative Brad Miller (D – NC13) who had previously supported the DREAM Act. After taking a photo with our one-time champion, we thanked him for his previous support and asked him when could we expect to see his name among the co-sponsors of our DREAMs. He responded with a similar refrain to what he had told us in previous encounters, saying “I’ll try to, as soon as I can.”

Photo by J. Valas

That answer just isn’t good enough, Representative Miller. With the strength that we have shown in bringing voters to the polls and informing them of the impact of Congressional inaction on our lives, it is clear that DREAMers are a force to be reckoned with. With another chance to pass the DREAM Act during the upcoming session in November, we expect leadership from our delegates- we expect their support for the DREAM Act and its passage this fall.

Today is the day to have your voice heard, to make the voices of DREAM Act youth around the country heard. If you can, vote. I know I will. If you haven’t already made up your mind, here is a handy voters tool to find which politicians most closely support your views and the NC Board of Elections Polling Place locator.

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