Congress 2012 would be yet another “first” for me along with the plane ride there. I did not know what to expect, but I knew exactly what I wanted to come back with. I was just coming off two massive campaigns; “I’m a DREAM Voter” and No Dream Deferred; I needed a new direction. What would our next steps be? What would I commit to? What are other DREAMers going through? Questions that lingered inside my head the whole bumpy plane ride to Kansas City.
The plane ride gave me more than enough time to myself. I reflected about what life was like a little over 8 months ago. I remember being curled up in bed, my sheets wrapped tightly around me fearing I would fall to pieces. Slowly my hopes for the DREAM Act; a pathway to my education were dying. Underneath me the ground was chipping. The sky above gray and looming with heavy dark clouds, a metaphoric rain ready to drench my weary and saddened soul. A depression is very hard to get over.
Two plane rides, one lay over and a total of seven hours later we arrived to our beautiful destination. Walking into the convention center, I couldn’t help but feel the electricity in the room. It was as though the rocky balboa theme song should be playing in the background. I was surrounded by my peers, the amazing people that are lead this nation into a new chapter and are ultimately changing the path for millions of immigrants. I saw 600 motivated educated individuals of different colors, shapes, and sizes ready to do some much needed healing, and most importantly to define the movement’s next steps.
I couldn’t help but keep thinking about my experience. It was meant to be, my life changed with literally one knock at my door. Suddenly my sister and I were catapulted into a whirlwind of a journey. I threw myself with passion into this movement and although it pushed me past my comfort zone more than once, it also freed my voice and my spirit. It took me the full weekend to digest being part of the group that is changing history as you read this but it was truly an energizing experience.
I can’t describe what is like to be in a room full of people whose hearts beat at the same rhythm and whose voices sang the same song. After a tedious and at times rocky and painful process of deciding what DREAMers will be tackling in 2013, we knew what our next steps would be. I came home feeling ready to tackle whatever Arizona throws my way and to continue to motivate people to join our already booming voice.
/// We are a coalition of students from across the state of Arizona that are educating and advocating for the passage of the DREAM Act along with other laws that affect the immigrant community as a whole.