DREAMers Band Together To Build Awareness, Find Allies

United We Dream

By Yarlin Morales
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Everyone wants the American Dream, whether they want to admit it or not. “DREAMers,” undocu-mented Americans who came to the United States before turning 17 and have legal protections under  the Deferred Action for Child-hood Arrivals (DACA) program, have found ways to support each other to achieve their own version of the American Dream through non-for-profit organizations like America’s Voice, United We Dream and Define American.

America’s Voice is an organization whose mission is to put America’s eleven million undocumented immigrants on a full path to citizenship by changing the political climate. Zachary Mueller, a digital communications manager at America’s Voice, says that it aims “to be a front door to the immigrants rights movement for folks that may or may not have any personal connections to immigrants.” To do this, he says America’s Voice tries “to drown a lot of the policy stuff and a lot of the confusing language that  can tend to get into the weeds.” Their main goal is to help stop xenophobic language before it starts, making it easier for immi-grants to tell their stories. With over 800,000 members, United We Dream is the largest immigrant  youth-led network in the country, according to José Muñoz, the organization’s national communications manager. The organization aims to ensure that the voices of their members, who are directly impacted by immigration policy, are heard across the media by pitching stories to reporters, training members, and  tracking the news. 

Some DREAMers have created chapters of orga-nizations in universities to help students covered by DACA. Marco Gonza-lez Blancas and Salvador Chavero Arellano, both recent Duke University graduates, served on the board of their campus’s Define America chapter. They were freshmen when then-President Trump dismantled DACA on September 5, 2017—a date Arellano says he will never forget. “That was when a lot of us—you know, freshman, sophomore, junior, seniors—got together, and we said something needs to be done. We need to fight.”

Define American’s “mission is to change the narra-tive of immigration in the United States, both legal and undocumented,” says Gonzalez. Through informing the Duke student body, they were able to create better allies. The group created an Undocumented Awareness Week with edu-cational and social events. They asked students to give up their student ID, “which literally gives them access to every building on cam-pus and allows them to buy food and all those things, [so] they could kind of ex-perience what it meant to be undocumented,” Gonzalez.  DREAMers have gone above and beyond to build awareness and allies. In doing so, they hope to find a pathway to their own American Dream: the dream of citizenship.

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