Oh, happy Saturday! Members of the Orange County Dream Team, a coalition of undocumented college students and their supporters trying to get the DREAM Act passed (which would create a pathway for citizenship for Dreamers), spent yesterday hounding Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in public liberal forums for not co-sponsoring the DREAM Act. As I've noted before, Sanchez tries to have it both ways on this issue: she says she would affirmatively vote on the issue if it ever came to a vote but refuses to sponsor it because it doesn't go far enough. Huh? Democrats have lamely tried to make excuses for Loretta on this issue, while trying to get the Dreamers to shush on the issue and not publicly embarrass the congresswoman.
Well, the OC Dream Team isn't quiet anymore. Click on the jump to see an exasperated Loretta deal with students in what she probably imagined was safe ground!
The following is two separate dispatches from yesterday by Dream Team members posted on Facebook. I've broken this one into paragraphs, because kids these days don't appreciate tabs...:
Today, a couple of us went to the LULAC statewide convention held at the DoubleTree Hotel [in Orange]. Noemi told us it was a breakfast but actually, we came to find out it was like the opening reception for the day and that there was going to be a press conference. So, we made our presence and things just unfolded. While we were waiting for Loretta to show up. Ruben and Trish led the Pledge of Allegiance, then there was talk about what LULAC does and the mention that they support DREAM and need the youth to continue the work of the elders there. While speakers gave their speeches, there came a point where Jorge said he felt he had to say something and he raised his hand and asked to speak.
By this time, a camera man for channel 7 had arrived. With a strong voice, Jorge went up there and he spoke about the DREAM, about the urgency to have Feinstein and Loretta champion the DREAM. He made all in the room accountable, calling for an urgent push to call on our congresspeople to co-sponsor DREAM as a stand alone bill, especially calling out Loretta, who was about to join the room. Passion. Defiance. Words began to boil, but he fought back the tears and concluded his speech firm and without a teardrop.
Everyone stood up and the camera man began to try to tape what was going on. LULAC now highlighted their support for DREAM even more and gave Jorge props for what he had said. Almost all the speakers included the DREAM act in their speeches. Loretta got there at that moment and gave a speech before she sat down for the press conference. One of the speakers thanked her for supporting CIR and DREAM. Speakers continued to speak and she once again got up and this time, she addressed DREAM more directly.
We were sitting right in the front and she would not look at us at all. While she did her speech, she looked at us and pointed out that some students do not understand what it means to be up in the hill, working on Comprehensive Immigration Reform for more than ten years and that she will not settle for a piecemeal. She also pointed out that the it if we have enough votes for the DREAM Act, we will have enough votes to pass CIR while trying to prove her all or nothing approach and why it would be almost irrrational to co-sponsor DREAM.
I think she thought that would be it, but Noemi stood up and bombarded her with her soft spoken voice and passion for DREAM. As a resident of her district, she called her out reminding her that while CIR conversations are happening, the DREAM is this much closer to happening than CIR and we need her to co-sponsor. Her tears and her passion got recorded by the camera man who had asked Jorge to show off his shirt and seemed eager to highlight the DREAM as a key component of the event.
Everyone stood up and clapped ending in a unity clap, everyone, except for Loretta, who continued to sit and even turned sideways. The speeches resumed and people continued to mention DREAM and their support for DREAM. Loretta left the meeting without comment or responding right before the Question and Answer section, exiting through the back door.
The following dispatch happened from last night's Orange County Labor Federation banquetat the Anaheim Convention Center...
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As you all have been reading, last night, 5 OCDT members attended an awards dinner. Throughout the night, we met and spoke to many supporters and were reminded of one of the most valuable lessons we have learned from the many union members we have walked side by side with in different actions: Stand up and speak up for what is right and fair. I spoke to Loretta, as some of you read in my previous note.
Towards the end of the night, we began to discuss how there is no time to wait...its been 10 years! During the last award of the night, one courageous DREAM student from SanTana , attending an art school in New York, went up on stage to use the microphone. Congresswoman Sanchez, had just finished awarding an award and the recipient had just finished giving his acceptance speech. Proudly wearing an OCDT tshirt, our student took the mic and congratulated the award recipient. Our student, stated how he would also one day like to be up on stage, being awarded for his work and DREAMs...however,to do that, he would have to make his DREAM a reality.
Our student said: Because many of us continue to wait for DREAM, Congresswoman Sanchez, we DREAMers have a message for you! When our student said that, all of us sitting at the table, stood up and chanted: Loretta, cosponsor DREAM NOW! (a total of 3 times).
Congrats, Dreamers, for bucking the OC liberal trend to worship Loretta!