This is a guest post from YouthBuild USA, a member of the Steering Committee of the National Rural Assembly.
An Open Letter to Dreamers
September 13, 2017
In this moment, it must seem that you are invisible, unappreciated, and ignored, and even hated. I am writing to let you know that I see you. I hear you. I value and appreciate you. I love you.
For years now, you have been an important part of the fabric of this country. You have been active in your local community working to improve circumstances for your neighbors and their families. You’ve been supporting yourself and family members here and abroad. You have often juggled quietly two worlds; your family hidden in the shadows and the new world that has demanded assimilation. You have done this all while living with a certain amount of fear and trepidation. While for some time you felt a sense of support for the aspirations you’ve so deeply held for a better life, in the last year, you’ve become increasingly worried, and now, you are plagued with a sense of uncertainty and hopelessness and rage. Still, you remain undeterred in your passion to accomplish your goals. Despite the challenges of the day, that fire to unleash your full potential still burns. I see not just your fear; I see your passion, your resiliency, your strength.
Now, having already experienced the strife of family separation or loss, and working to hold two sets of cultural identities in a land that seems to forget its own beginnings, you face the possibility of returning to a place that holds so much cultural significance for you, but one you may hardly remember. You face the possibility of having undone the very thing your family wished for you – a life of better opportunity here, in this place. In fact, perhaps you are questioning the heart of this place you now call “home”. What of the American Dream? Does it not apply to you? What about the country’s sense of its own heritage – that it was built by peoples who came here, or were brought here – and that this cultural richness despite some of its unspeakable foundation, is considered valuable, even core to who we are today as a country? You believed this, but now perhaps you struggle to reconcile this land with the one before you today. To tell you the truth, I question this often. There are many days when I do not recognize the country I love.
Then, though, I remember that I am not alone. That there are people in my community, in my workplace, in my school, in my State House who see you just as I do. They are fighting for you and the nearly 800,000 who dream with you. They are teachers, legislators, community organizers, heads of corporations, public servants. They are Native, immigrant, wealthy, poor, gay, and straight - and they hail from the very ethnicities and backgrounds that are indeed the fabric of this country. Together, we denounce hate. We denounce violence. We denounce world views and beliefs that discriminate against, judge, and reject entire groups of people. We stand for a world of true justice and equality for all.
So, I am writing today to say that this is not over. And I will continue to fight for this American Experiment, this place I . . . we call home. After all, it is who I am. It is why I exist – for you and so many others who share your same hopes and dreams. Every day across the country my colleagues and friends are working to support you in rebuilding your community and your life. In this moment, as always, you are not alone. I stand with you as do so many others.
I see you. I hear you. I value and appreciate you. I love you.
Yours in power,
YouthBuild USA has joined with others to sign on to the letter of the Center for Law and Social Policy’s (CLASP) Campaign for Youth, which calls on Congress to keep DACA and pass the DREAM Act. For further information and to join the campaign, visit http://www.clasp.org