Undocumented and Living in Alabama

Victor Palafox is a 19 year old, undocumented resident of Alabama, pre/post HB 56. He was interviewed by dreamers adrift, a collective that documentes the undocumented, in Dallas, Texas a few weeks ago. In this candid interview, Victor describes what it’s like to live in the south, what it means to be undocumented there, how the community has changed for the worse and what the future holds.

Intersecting Realities: Visions of Immigrant Narratives

Save the date for June 18th 6 p.m. for what will be one of many art shows that looks at the Dream Act movement from the point of view of the individuals who make it up. This is a show that has been a long time in the making and through a collective effort of individuals and artist, a space has been created in which the movement will be seen a little differently that the normal political context. Seen the way we see it ourselves everyday going to work, school, being activist, artist, brothers, sisters, daughters,sons … human beings making the best of what was given to us.People see us as the students, dreamers, activist and youth, but rarely do those same people get to see the other sides of our lives outside of these spaces. Truly, a persons personally is like a kaleidoscope, perpetualy changing, sometimes too fast to notice.

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Dream + Act: Film, Videos, and Activism on Immigration

(To see a larger pic click here.)

In the on going discussions about the Federal Dream Act, Freewaves, Self Help Graphics & Art, La Causa and The East LA Society of Film and Arts (TELA SOFA) are convening artist, activist and film makers in a sort of free for all that discusses the issues around the Dream Act, immigration in the U.S., the connections between art and activism and the affects they all have in communities. These are all pretty broad topics as it is, but the panel discussion, which I’m on, the screening of short films and the discussion with the film makers will narrow down the conversations and encourage healthy dialogue that is lacking at times because of the strong passions Dream and immigration bring up. I won’t go into much detail about what is going to be discussed because even I don’t really know, but I know it’ll be good conversation none the less.

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L.A. to O.C. Dream Ride

Join us in a 50 mile bike ride to continue raising awareness for Federal Dream Act, California Dream Act (institutional financial aid) and getting drivers licences for all California residents, as well as bringing attention to the rights of all bicyclist in the city of L.A and Orange County. Spokes & Words, The Orange County Dream Team and Dream Team Los Angeles are working together with City of Lights and the Bici Digna program in organizing and funding this event to bring together all these great orgs that fight for social justice for for all.

When: Sunday Feb. 20 (presidents day weekend)

Where: Starting at Corazon del Pueblo 2003 E. 1st. street Boyle Heights 90033 and ending at Centro Cultural de Mexico 310 W. 5th street Santa Ana 92701

Registration: Registration form and $15 fee (link at bottom of page) will be due on Jan. 28. This will include lunch, dinner, bike maintenance during event and over night stay in Orange County. Form can be downloaded via link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13WcyFiBe45oBXLUIAOkvINgfZAzimUHsIxHlPCWnNOM/edit?hl=en

Route: Approx 50 miles via streets of L.A., San Gabriel River Bike Path and streets of Santa Ana.

Housing: Sleeping over at Centro Cultural de Mexico. Individuals are responsible for bringing their own sleeping bag, pillows, blankets, toiletries, change of clothes etc. and transportation back to L.A. A truck will carry participant’s belongings, sleeping bags etc. to Santa Ana and back to CDP after ride is over.

Food: Lunch, dinner and snacks will be provided for all participants accounted for, for the event.

Bike Safety Work Shops: All participants of event will be required to attend at least one workshop on safety, rules of the road and ridding in a group. No exceptions.

First workshop will be at CDP on Jan 23rd from 1 to 4 p.m. Second will be at Centro Cultural in Santa Ana on Jan 30th from 1 to 4 p.m. and the final workshop will be at CDP on Feb. 5th from 1 to 4 p.m. Riders needing help with their bikes will be encouraged to bring them to the workshop for maintenance and bike tune up. Workshops will be coordinated by City of Lights.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for anyone that wants to donate food, supplies or sponsor riders for the event as well.

Anyone with questions about the event can contact dream.act.riders@gmail.com for more information or concerns

Event Sponsors:
Spokes & Words
City of Lights
Orange County Dream Team
Dream Team Los Angeles
Corazon del Pueblo
El Centro Cultural de Mexico

Link to pay pal account here:

5 minutes of fame

~ Design by Ernesto Yerena ~

As of late, I’ve been getting some attention online because of an essay I wrote for Zocalo Public Square. I got published on Dec. 5/6 and since it went viral on facebook and twitter, I’ve been getting emails and messages from other undocumented individuals whose life mirrors mine and from supporters to keep up the good work and that they enjoyed reading the essay. I was also fortunate enough to have an old high school friend connect with me again after reading the article, that’s how far it got. Secretly though, I was kinda hoping that some of the xenophobes and nativist that troll blogs to leave negative comments would spit their vile, but no luck yet. But someone did leave this comment, which I think is the best one thus far because of what it means, “I am a white republican american citizen and after reading your article I do look at the situation differently. You have put a personal story to the DREAM ACT and made me reconsider my position.”

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DREAMS DEFERRED: Artist Respond to Immigration Reform

From the press release: “The Chinese American Museum (CAM) and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument are proud to present Dreams Deferred: Artists Respond to Immigration Reform opening this Thursday, Dec. 9 This exhibit will showcase local artists exploring the tensions, repercussions, hopes, and dreams of immigrant communities in the face of new immigration legislation, through a broad spectrum of art including street art, graffiti art, sculpture, painting, and multimedia installations. Continue reading

Last push for the DREAM Act

I think most people know by now that I ain’t got no papers and if you didn’t,well now you do. In the past, I’ve posted a few things here and there for the DREAM Act. I do enough of that everywhere else, so that there’s no need for me to keep blasting it out on other sites I contribute to, but this is one of those few times where I dip my spoon in several cups. Just in case you haven’t heard, the DREAM Act is going to come up for a vote before the end of this week, before the lame duck session in congress finishes. So, basically what is happening is that all the Democrats that are leaving wanna stick it to the Republicans and they’re using the DREAM Act and possibly AG Jobs to do it.

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DREAM Act Town Hall meeting this Thursday

In order for this post and semi-rant post to make sense, please watch this clip from Democracy Now, in which the documentary, “Yo Soy El Army: America’s New Military Caste,” a film about the military targeting Latinos, is discussed. You can watch the first part of the clip by clicking here. After you watch the first part, play the video at the top and skip to 3:55 in which the discussion shifts to the DREAM Act being a back door military draft.
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Hunger Strike for the DREAM Act

“The height of manhood/womenhood, Cesar Chavez believes, is to give of one’s self.”

Watching nine of my peers start an indefinite hunger strike to get Senator Diane Feinstein to champion the DREAM Act as a stand alone bill brought me back down to earth. Knowing that they’re going to be depraving themselves of all food except water for the next few weeks is nothing short of amazing. The hunger strike is in solidarity with the 21 students that participated in civil disobedience in Washington D.C. yesterday, two of them here from L.A. All across the United States, undocumented youth and allies are working on making the DREAM Act happen this year because immigration reform is an idealistic, farfetched dream right now. The current IR bill would mandate more enforcement and laws than new path ways for people to adjust their legal status. Immigration Reform is dead and people need to realize that by passing the DREAM Act first, we are creating a path for just and fair Immigration Reform that will help people, not just imprison and deport them.

Come and show your support as they hold down the corner of Sepulveda Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. in Westwood. It’s funny, the things you see sitting and watching the world drive by. Angry honks of road rage. Angry yells of idiots who talk out of their ignorant asses. But also to personally speak with people out on the streets, explaining to them what they are doing, what the DREAM Act is and why they are doing. Wishing us luck on the campaign and saying they support the cause. If you would like to help the cause, give her a call or two and tell her you support the DREAM Act as a stand alone bill and that she should get cracking on it (310) 914 – 7300. Feinstein already supports the DREAM Act, but that’s not enough. She has the power to put it up in the Senate so it can be voted and passed. Sim ply saying you support something to get people off your back isn’t enough.

“Come on Brown, come on!… I’m trying to tell you … I’m telling you, that picketing thing is over … All you’re doing is getting your own people in trouble. Now look …he leans over toward me and lowers his voice, “the blacks picketed for years … for years. They marched and they did they very things you people are doing right now … but you know something, and this is the honest-to-god truth … they didn’t get a thing until they had Watts! That is a fact. And I’m telling you, until your people riot, they’re probably not going to get a thing either! That’s my opinion.” Revolt of the Cockroach People ~ Zeta pg. 74

1.8 Million Dreams Fundraiser

Live performances by:
Conjunto Nueva Ola
La Santa Cecilia
Pilar Diaz
Concepto Tambor

Hosted by: Gustavo Arellano (“Ask a Mexican!”)

Rani D. (Soul in the Park)
Glenn Red (AfroFunke, Eclectica)

Entrance fee: $10
All benefits will go towards the 1.8 MILLION DREAMS Project

1.8 Million Dreams is a collaborative project that serves as a creative multi-media outlet for undocumented students (in the U.S.) to share their stories. Additionally, this project serves as a resource for those currently working on undocumented student issues at the state and federal level.

The DREAM is coming

“This past Monday, on the anniversary of landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, Lizbeth Mateo of Los Angeles, Mohammad Abdollahi of Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Yahaira Carrillo of Kansas City, Missouri; were detained Tucson, Arizona, after staging a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s office. With this challenge to local and federal law, these youth hope to highlight the urgency of legislative action in Congress, and catalyze mass grassroots mobilization to pass the DREAM Act before June 15th.”

Lizbeth, Mohammad and Yahaira are undocumented students. They are DREAM Act family. Like all the other undocumented students throughout the country, they can no longer sit idly by as life keeps passing us by. Whenever an undoc student speaks out in public, whenever we travel and whenever we organize rallies and protest, we are putting ourselves at risk for detainment and deportation. These three leaders have put themselves on the front lines because the time for the DREAM Act to be brought to Congress as a stand alone bill and be passed. Since it was first introduced 8 years ago, the DREAM Act is the only way college educated undoc students have to fix their immigration status.

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Pass the DREAM Act now

Art by Nico of Los Poets del Norte

When I was kid, I was always told in school that you needed to go to college to get a better quality of life. Teachers always encouraged me and my fellow students to pursue a college education. They would ask the class, “what do you wanna be when you grow up ?” I always said that I wanted to be a vegetarian, because I love animals and I wanna help them. The teacher would then correct me and say, “ohh you mean veterinarian, silly.” The class would laugh and we would move on to the next kid who wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut, a dentist etc. Never once in my life growing up did it occur to me that in order to be anything great in this country, that I am proud to call my home, that you needed papers. I figured that if I did like my teachers said, I got good grades, applied myself and worked hard I would get into a college and make something of myself. Lies. Fucking lies.  Continue reading