The Campaign for an American DREAM (CAD) kicked off on March 10 on its walk from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. in an effort to create dialogue around the passage of the DREAM Act and immigration reform with the values of equality, unity and diversity.
The walkers are made up of six undocumented students and their allies.
Alex Aldana is a queer undocumented immigrant rights activist who works as a community organizer/health advocate for Latino LGBTQ youth, HIV/AIDS prevention, education and treatment with social justice, advocacy and empowerment to immigrant communities impacted by health disparities in Southern California.
Lucas Da Silva is an undocumented student from Orlando, Fla., who was brought to the U.S. at the age of 12 months from Rio de Janeiro on a tourist visa. He and his family originally moved to New York City, but moved to Orlando after the 9/11 attacks. Da Silva is enrolled at Valencia College in Orlando with a major in Political Science/Philosophy.
Jose Gonzalez is an undocumented student from San Diego who has lived in the state for 24 years after being born in Lomas de Palanco within the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico. A youth minister and lecturer at his local church, Gonzalez recently founded the American Dream Coalition at Mesa College. The group promotes social inclusiveness and seeks to bring the undocumented human experience into light.
Nicolas Gonzalez, from Chicago, has been an active participant in the immigration movement in 2006 and arrived back in San Francisco on March 10 from Montgomery, Ala., where he appeared in court after being arrested for protesting anti-immigration legislation recently enacted in that state. He arrived in the country when he was five years old. Gonzalez came out as “Undocumented and Unafraid” on “Coming Out of the Shadows Day” on March 10, 2010.
Raymi Gutierrez was born in Salt Lake City as the middle child of nine. Gutierrez is the only ally out of the six walkers and the first U.S.-born citizen in her family. Her parents left their original home in Bolivia more than 20 years ago in pursuit of happiness for their children. Gutierrez is the E.N.D. (Education Not Deportation) Coordinator for the Salt Lake Dream Team.
Jonatan Martinez comes from Warner Robins, Ga., and is also an undocumented student. Martinez was brought to the U.S. at the age of four from Mexico City on a visitor’s visa and graduated from Macon State College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Information Technology. He hopes to serve in the military one day and is currently in deportation proceedings.
The walkers have completed the first month of the eight-month trek, moving from California into Nevada. CAD walkers have been sharing with, and learning from, the communities they have come across. One of the highlights the second week was receiving a standing ovation on the Assembly Floor at the California State Capitol.
The grassroots Campaign will help amplify the voices in communities throughout the country so that our elected officials can hear from the people affected by stringent and racist policies. The campaign will focus on its core values of “Unity, Equality, and Diversity” and what they mean for all people and families in the U.S.