The CHP apparently has a problem with nine students holding a sit-in on Wilshire.
The CHP apparently has a problem with nine students holding a sit-in on Wilshire.
Photo by Melanie.

Jonathan Bibriesca, OC Dream Act Activist, Among 9 Arrested in Westwood

An Orange Countian was among the nine Dream Act student-activists who tied up traffic for hours in Westwood Thursday--and were rewarded with arrest citations from the California Highway Patrol.

The Wilshire Boulevard spectacle caused a traffic alert to be issued for "severe" congestion in the area of the 405 freeway and Veteran Avenue, and alternate routes for getting into Westwood were advised. LAist editor Zach Behrens was all over the demonstration as it happened.

Pioneered by Sens. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would enable those who were 16 and under when their parents brought them into the U.S. illegally to enlist in the military or go to college and have a path to citizenship which they otherwise would not have without the legislation.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove), who owes her political career to support from new, longtime and some illegal immigrants, has callously refused to sponsor the Dream Act, although she readily tells supporters she will vote for it should it ever reach the House floor.

That's what Sanchez told Dream Act activist Tam Tran of Orange County last year. Tran and fellow Dream activist Cynthia Felix recently died in an auto accident.

But picking up the OC torch is Jonathan Bibriesca, who sat with his eight amigo/as on Wilshire near the West Los Angeles Federal Building Thursday while 50 or so supporters surrounded them with signs, chants and songs.

"My friend and I arrived to the United States at the same time, I was privileged to arrive with residency status," states Bibriesca in a media alert issued at the time of the demonstration. "Almost immediately we became best friends, we have shared unforgettable moments and our friendship grew to the point where I began to consider him a brother.

"After high school our lives took different roads; I joined the military and he enrolled in college," Bibriesca continues. "Then I started to become aware of his situation and the unnecessary barriers that have been implemented on him because he is undocumented. He has inspired me to pursue higher education, and to advocate for social justice."

Bibriesca said he took part in the civil disobedience "because of him and all the beautiful undocumented students who overcome barriers and fight to achieve higher education. I am taking part in this civil disobedience action because I was raised with the values of reaching out and helping those in need."

He was joined by immigrants and/or children of immigrants Maria Garcia, Renato Perez, Yazmin (no last name given), Andrea Ortega (who dedicated her civil disobedience to the memories of Tran and Felix), Olavo Michel, Sophia Sandoval, Charlene Gomez and Mariella Saba.

With Behrens' post, you can see a photo of the "Wilshire 9" proudly showing off their tickets in front of CHP headquarters.


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