Congress Experience


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.

-Dulce Vasquez


Dreamer Story: Analeslie Lima

This post was written by Cesar Valdez. Cesar interviewed Analeslie Lima and this is her story.

Name: Analeslie Lima

Age: 23 years old

Education: 5 years at Scottsdale Community College. This semester will be her last semester. Associates in applied sciences.

Place of Birth: Guanajuato

Analeslie entered the United States undetected with her mom and stepdad. Her mom was pregnant when they came over. Analeslie was 5 years old.  They lived in Mexicali for an entire year and came to Phoenix later when she was six. Analeslie and her family were brought in by a Coyote “Human Smuggler” into the United States. She doesn’t recall the actual “crossing”, she only remembers being in the back of a truck with a lot of people. She didn’t really know where they were going, she had no idea she was crossing illegally into the United States. She processed the experience as a “road trip” in her 5 year old mind.

Analeslie doesn’t remember much from México. She remembers the dirt roads, she remembers the ranch she lived in, and going to kindergarten.  Economically, they were not doing well, her family in Mexico was really poor, and that’s the reason her mom decided to come here. She wanted to provide her and her brother something better.

Read the full post »

Gaby Perez and Deferred Action

Gaby Perez putting together her paperwork for DACA.

I am Gabriela Perez, 24 years old, and I applied for Deferred Action during the first week that applications came out. I graduated cum laude from Arizona State University in August 2010. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Science with a 3.55 gpa. I came to Arizona in Feb 1995 at age 7 and started 1st grade of school at Heard School and transferred to Magnet Traditional School in 4th grade. During High School at Alhambra I applied to 50+ scholarships and I was awarded 8 to any state university due to my 4.3 gpa. Unfortunately, when Proposition 300 passed I was only able to keep 4 of them.

I was first involved in advocacy for the Dream Act in 2007 with a group called ASU Social Justice Coalition. It was brief but enough to get my feet wet to start understanding the politics behind it. When Proposition 300, passed I started to realize a bit more of Arizona’s dramatic shift on immigration issues. At the time, many of the students who had been awarded the Presidential Scholarship from ASU were left in a limbo since the scholarship was taken away from us in no time at all.

On June 15th, I was able to experience a feeling of accomplishment. The feeling of accomplishment that many college graduates get, that I always lacked because I knew I could do nothing with my degree. For once I can think freely. For once I am able to make decisions and choices without worrying about obstacles. As of now, I look forward and plan ahead. I see the world as an open canvas and I am ready to do whatever I want with it and go whichever way I choose. After 17 years of hopes and promises, the moment I’ve always dreamed of is here. Five or six months of waiting is nothing, that’s right around the corner. If I waited 17 years I can wait 6 more months. Now, I am going to be able to use my degree and provide for my family. I can look at my dad and tell him to rest; now it is my turn. It’s an amazing feeling!

I have never felt so positive in my life. I see everything as an opportunity rather than a burden and although this is not a permanent solution, I will be able to savor the opportunity given to me thanks to the hard work of many DREAMERS. The volunteering and activism paid off. This is the reward. OUR reward. OUR hard work. If this is not enough proof I don’t know what is. This little light at the end of the tunnel makes me want to fight even harder and push for the DREAM ACT. I feel it happening, I really do.

-Gaby Perez

If you want more information on Deferred Action, visit the No Dream Deferred website.

Quick Post: March on Saturday

Cesar, Bibiana, Dulce and a few others from Phoenix Dreamers are getting pumped before the march

Starting in Steele Indian Park, Puente Arizona’s most recent march demonstrated against Arpaio and the remaining clause of SB 1070. We left at 10:30 and marched a mile and a half down Central to ICE headquarters.

Once there, we had some speeches, those who will be traveling on the Undocubus spoke a bit, and the four undocumented individuals that were arrested on Thursday’s action spoke, telling us about the experience of getting taken into ICE.

What struck me most was the descriptions of the ICE agents’ reactions. When facing these individuals’ fearless attitudes, the agents were in shock. Their bravery threw the agents off guard and it broke their power over the arrested. By knowing their rights and expressing this knowledge, the four who were arrested were released and able to show up at ICE headquarters to tell their stories.

The bravery of these individuals, both in getting arrested in the first place and speaking about their experiences, is astonishing and inspiring. I couldn’t help but be moved by their experiences.

Quick Post: Erika Andiola’s Story Shared

Erika Andiola, founding president of ADAC, has her story shared by Senator Durbin (D) on the Senate floor. Just one of the many ways that our visibility is growing!

How does your story compare to Erika’s? How has “coming out” changed you or how people treat you?

Stay visible!


NCLR Conference 2012

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A few of our members went to Las Vegas two weeks ago for the National Council of La Raza Annual Conference. Held in Mandalay Bay hotel, the conference hosted many of the nation’s most important organizations, businesses, and individuals who work to strengthen the Hispanic community. It was an important networking event and provided our ADAC members an opportunity to make some powerful connections. Also, have some fun!

Some of the guests included Pepe Aguilar, Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas and Vice President Joe Biden, among many others. I asked Alan Salinas, Carla Chavarria, and Reyna Montoya a little about the conference.

XV: What was your biggest accomplishment while at the conference?

Alan: The first day. It was a challenge staying awake after 30+ hours with no sleep. (laughs) Just kidding. My biggest accomplishment was networking with CEOs and Activists over the nation, and getting artists to wear the ADAC pin and mention the DREAM Act on stage and over-live streaming

Carla: Probably getting Pepe Aguilar and others to wear the [Support the Dream Act] pin. It made sure the Dream Act was in everyone’s mind, even as entertainment happened.

XV: Who was the coolest person you met there?

Reyna: The coolest person that I met was Sandra Cisneros. She was a true inspiration! Sandra Cisneros was a guest speaker in a workshop to inspire Latinas in specifically. She inspired me because she was a very transparent and honest person and her story was very powerful and easy to relate. Her story was one of success and I feel that many young Americans who have struggled to go to school or have been told that they will not make it, she is a living example that in the midst of uncertainty there is always hope.

XV: What do you wish would have happened at the conference?

Alan: Having a table specifically for ADAC and raise awareness about the Dream Act, show a video or something, there was some people that didn’t know what it is after being talked about for more than 10 years. We could have our own workshop there.

Reyna: I would have wished that there was a workshop dedicated on Deferred Action/DREAM Act and that it would have been run by DREAMers. And that VP Biden would have answer our twitter campaign and meet with AZ DREAMers.

(She’s referring to our Twitter campaign to get Joe Biden to have coffee with ADAC. We were unsuccessful this time but we’ll get our cup of Joe with Joe soon!)

XV: How do you feel about the conference overall?

Reyna: Overall, I thought that the conference was a great opportunity to network and to create visibility about DREAM Act and the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition.

Alan: It was so interesting. It opened my mind even beyond and I was able to picture the future of our movement, organization, and Dreamers- There is opportunity out there and ways to keep moving forward.

Carla: Conferences are always fun. Very productive, ADAC seams to always make a presence there the last two times we have gone.

XV: Any last words about the conference?

Reyna: I want to say that ADAC really represented well at the conference and we not only created visibility about DREAM Act but also about AZ! Yay!!!

Carla: New Orleans 2013!!!!! That is all.

Must Reads: Visibility of Fighting Back

After a bit of a drought, we’re back with some interesting reads for you!

This one shows some of the protests throughout the years and how we will not comply with hateful laws like 1070.

Here we have Tucson’s way of fighting the ethnic studies ban.

Finally, a short post on how our movement influenced Obama’s Deferred Action announcement.



SB1070:What it Means Now


Yesterday the Supreme Court made their ruling on SB1070.  Three key provisions were declared unconstitutional, a violation to our governing document and a threat to justice:

1)      Arresting people without a warrant because the police have suspicion that they are undocumented.

2)      Criminalizing immigrants to leave their homes without documents.

3)      Criminalizing undocumented immigrants to work in Arizona.

The part that was not struck down was section 2(b), the “show me your papers” piece.  Yes this piece was not struck down, but it was also not upheld.  The high court allowed it to go into effect for now, because Arizona courts have yet to interpret the provision and it has yet to be enforced, so they cannot yet decide if it was constitutional.  This is actually a big deal, and an important distinction.  Since it was not upheld, this leaves the door open for new lawsuits to challenge this provision.

This challenge was specifically about ONLY state vs. federal powers, the court could not rule on racial profiling claims, because that wasn’t challenged in THIS case.  That means new cases on racial profiling are yet to be heard, and make no mistake, they will be heard.

Friends, this is indeed a win for immigrants and allies!  Do not be disappointed, and do not listen to Jan Brewer.  Control our message:  We won this one, and the fight continues.

(Source for info:  the United We Dream Network)

Now I’m going to switch gears.  Above was some important information, and if that’s what you were looking for, read no further.  For a little bit more background, and hopefully some inspiration, keep reading along with me.

Read the full post »

SCOTUS Ruling Released: “Show Me Your Papers” Upheld

The ruling came out at about 7:30 am MT. The Supreme Court has announced that 3 of the 4 sections of SB1070 were struck down.

These sections include, 3, 5, and 6, which include criminalizing immigrants who don’t carry federal registration papers, undocumented persons soliciting work, and authorizing warrantless arrests of “deportable” individuals.

2(b), the “show me your papers” portion was upheld.

ADAC has released a statement reminding the community to remain calm, remain informed, and stay involved.

The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, an organization composed of immigrant youth and their allies, laments the Supreme Court decision which upheld section (2b) of the law that allows authorities to ask individuals their immigration status if there is a reasonable suspicion the individual is undocumented. We believe the section being upheld [is] conducive to racially profiling citizens, legal residents, and undocumented immigrants and therefore do[es] not provide equal treatment under the law.

We as a coalition will be documenting police abuse through our hotline, 1-855-RESPETO (1-855-737-8673)

Events are being held today, the day of the decision. Join in displaying your distaste with the ruling.

Read the full post »

New Times Shares Our Dream

This week’s edition of the Phoenix New Times features artwork by our very own Carla Chavarria, Head of our IDREAM chapter. The cover story details Obama’s announcement about Deferred Action, and gives the DREAMer perspective on the announcement.

Here’s a portion of Carla’s statement, giving her inspiration for the featured artwork.

It all started with an idea, a dream. Dark thoughts stormed through my head, the Dream Act had failed…A face, a face to the movement that’s what we need, I thought to my self…. IDREAM DO YOU?! …. *Oh and Happy Birthday Father, if it wasn’t for you and your love for art I would be lost right about now*

Carla also gives a statement about the New Times printing her art with their story. She’s really grateful!

It’s truly [sic] humbling to have this much support from everyone! From the beginning of I Dream Campaign with Diego Lozano, Samantha Aiello, Michael Moreno, Gustavo Lopez to ALL of The Arizona Dream Act Coalition (A.D.A.C.) members and a huge support from Kim Moody, Dana from Alwun House and Joe Ray ! Thank you everyone!!!! Ricardo and Maria Reyes, thank you for all the support!

IDream is collecting photos of supporters with the article. Here are a couple taken over the weekend!

IDream‘s latest campaign promotes Dreamer visibility. Send in your reaction shots with this week’s New Times!

-Xenia Velasco

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