So... We marched. The pictures were beautiful - although the media coverage sparse. That was March. We're now in April. Now what?
Rumor has it that the same politicians who promised our community immigration reform in return for votes are now asking the community to hold off until the next election. Go after the Republicans they say... but wait that just won't work. It was the Democrats that had promised immigration reform. Neither party has taken up the gauntlet for the community, though both parties are in different ways courting both the Latino community and the immigrant community for our votes. So shouldn't both parties be held accountable?
Over the course of the last few years we've been trumpeting the strength of the Latino vote. If now is not the time for us to exercise that muscle then when?
The buck is not going to stop with partisan politics. The buck will stop with individual politicians being held accountable and the community voting for and mobilizing votes and campaigns for those who do support immigration reform in fact as well as in word, regardless of party affiliation.
One group of immigration advocates that is ready to take action and demand accountability across both sides of the aisle are the DREAM folks. This group of activists are phenomenal both offline and online. They are both traditional organizers and technologists and social media leaders - oh and did I mention that many of them are undocumented youth? These are youngsters who came to this country because they were brought here by their folks. They did not ask to come here. They were brought by their parents. For many of them this is the only place that they know as home and English is the only language that they know; but our broken system keeps them stuck in limbo, unable to fully contribute their many gifts to our society and stuck in a second class level of existence riddled with unnecessary challenges because of their lack of documentation despite the many gifts that they have to share.
As a daughter of immigrants, a US born citizen New Yorker, I am keeping a keen eye on the prize as it relates to immigration reform and am hopeful that President Obama and other Democrats make good on his promise for immigration reform in 2010 - even though it will be one year later than what the original promise had been. I am also keeping an eye on the Republicans and hopeful that they get that the time is now to step into leadership on this front away from the hatred of the nativists and back into the golden years of Republicanism as exemplified by President Lincoln. And I am keeping candles lit for the DREAM youth. I am praying that they are given the chance to succeed and contribute fully to this country by those in elected office.
Many say that those are sueños de una Mexicana - I say that they are dreams of an Estado Unidense that still dares to dream of integrity and honest leadership that ultimately is not held collectively by one party but rather by individual people who choose a career of public service to represent the U.S. people and the greatness of what we as a nation can be if we bend that arc of the moral universe towards justice.
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Dr. King once said that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. It bends towards justice, but here is the thing: it does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice...." - Then Senator Barack Obama on 4/4/08 speaking on the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.