by Justin Valas

We’ve reached a critical time for the DREAM Act. Senator Harry Reid from Nevada (who “owes the Latino community big time.”) has vowed to bring the DREAM Act up for a vote during the coming lame-duck session of Congress. In coordination with groups around the country, the NC DREAM Team and our allies have undertaken a week of action in support of the DREAM Act. In fact, within the Triangle, we are on our second week- thanks to our friends and allies at Students United for Immigrant Equality and Duke Students for Humane Borders who culminated their week by ‘Giving up our dreams for the DREAM‘ this past Friday night.

This week we have been calling for Senator Hagan to remember her accountability to ALL of her constituents. In Asheville, DREAMers took to the pavement outside of her office with signs and banners- gaining a lot of support from passers by. Some of her mountain-resident constituents braved the cold to stand for what they saw as an injustice. As taxpayers, documented and undocumented, we deserve to have a our delegates to Washington, DC hear our voices.

Photo by Viridiana Martinez

Tuesday saw caps and gowns outside of Senator Hagan’s Charlotte office. We held a vigil to restore faith in our Senator. While we have asked for meetings with Senator Hagan since May, we have frequently been told that “the Senator has a very busy schedule. She doesn’t have time to meet with everyone.” I guess she just has time to meet with her “important” constituents…. We also heard from many Republican constituents who not only couldn’t believe that Senator Hagan wasn’t co-sponsoring the DREAM Act, they were equally shocked that Senator Burr was not supportive of the legislation. So, Senator Burr, you can expect a few phone calls coming in as well.

Photo by V. Martinez

Wednesday saw youth from near her home of Greensboro take to the streets, boldly calling for Senator Hagan to “Let Us Serve!” These brave Yadkinville youth also proclaimed that they are Undocumented and Unafraid. These youth made a personal case for the passers-by and for the Senator: They are educated, talented, committed and wish to be able to serve the country they call home. At the same time, NC DREAM Team’s newest members, Jose and Alicia, attended the Senator’s veterans constituent services meeting to share their perspective with our Senator.

Photo by V. Martinez

Alicia has her nursing degree and wants to be able to serve those in need. Particularly, she wants to be able to put her training as a nurse to serve the men and women of our armed forces. For the most military-friendly state in the nation, how can we deny our troops the medical care that can save their lives? Alicia isn’t alone, there are countless DREAMers around the country who aspire to serve and protect this country through military service. When members of the American Legion learned about what the DREAM Act entailed, we gained even more supporters.

That brings us to today, Veterans Day. Not only will we be presenting the DREAM Act to a local veterans group, we will also be rallying in Raleigh outside of Senator Hagan’s office again. And we won’t be alone. DREAMers are not the only group discriminated against by something that has no bearing on their ability or desire to serve their country and be full, respected members of the community. We are reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the fight for LGBTQ equality to demand our Senator take action to support our communities and a stronger North Carolina. This Veterans Day, we are demanding that Senator Hagan “Let Us Serve”- pass the DREAM Act (requested by the Department of Defense) and repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (per Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates’ request). North Carolina and the United States deserve to make the most of talent and desire to serve already within our borders, we deserve to have our Senator take leadership on these important issues.

If you’re in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area today, join us to urge Senator Hagan to do the right thing by passing the DREAM Act and repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. You can find us at:

310 New Bern Avenue Raleigh, NC 27601

If you can’t be there, please make a phone call to Senator Hagan’s Greensboro office at 336-333-5311 and tell her that North Carolina supports the DREAM Act.

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