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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Immigrant Rights View other events for the week of 8/11/2012
From the Bay to LA: Students Embark on Bike Tour for DREAM Act
Los Angeles—Thirty-one college students from across the nation will embark on a 540 mile bike tour in celebration of the recent passage of the California Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors (“DREAM”) Act, to support the Federal DREAM Act, and to create a better public understanding of the challenges faced by undocumented students pursuing higher education.
The Fourth Annual California Tour de Dreams is set for Aug. 9 – 19, 2012. Riders will bike from UC Berkeley to UCLA.
It is estimated that more than 25,000 undocumented students graduate every year from California’s high schools. These students face a particularly difficult challenge in financing their education because they are ineligible to apply for federal financial aid.
Participants will include students who will benefit from the recent passage of the California DREAM act and their supporters. Students come from UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, San Francisco State University, San Jose State, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Laney College, Mt. San Antonio College, and Loyola Marymount.
While biking to create awareness about the DREAM Acts, cyclists come together to network and collectively create their own success. At the same time, undocumented students and their allies have created avenues in which the silenced struggles of these students are exposed and cherished.
Bikes symbolize empowerment, as bike riders take their mobility into their own hands. In addition, through cycling, undocumented students have demystified the sport. They have taken cycling out of the spectrum of the “Lance Armstrongs” and brought cycling to people of color, the chubby cheeked, the working poor, Womyn, Trans* and LGBT people, and male cyclists alike!
Xochitlquetzal, a 2011 graduate of UC Santa Cruz (BA, community studies), said, “Four years ago we started the tour with very simple goals. One, give undocumented students means to fundraise money for their education. Two, raise awareness about the CA and Federal DREAM ACTs. However it has become so much more than that; it has brought us together and given us collective power. It reminded me of my own Humanity. That is why I will continue to participate in the CA Tour de Dreams.”
During the 2011 legislative cycle, California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills: Assembly Bill 130 and Assembly Bill 131, otherwise known as the “California DREAM Act." AB 130 allows undocumented students to receive scholarships at California public colleges and universities obtained from private funds. This bill went into effect January 1, 2012. AB 131 will allow undocumented students to receive financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants at California public colleges and universities. This bill will go into effect January 1, 2013.
The Federal DREAM Act was first introduced in 2001. Several iterations have been submitted, though the principals remain the same. The legislation would provide a citizenship path for those who are undocumented but entered the United States at the age of 15 or younger, have lived in the US for more than 5 years, have obtained a G.E.D. or high school diploma, and are under the age of 30. This group would have 10 years to complete a two-year degree or enlist in the military. After six more years, they could apply for citizenship. The DREAM Act has yet to pass the Senate, but is expected to be voted on again during this year’s 112th Congressional Session.
Ferdnando Batista, a sophomore at Laney College (Biology/Pre-Physical Therapy Major) ties these points together when he says, “The Tour de Dreams allowed me to transform my past experiences of shame into empowerment. After years of hiding in the shadows, avoiding situations that could expose my undocumented status, I decided to speak up! I speak out for people like my sister, who was denied a green card because she aged-out of our family-sponsored immigration case. After being inspired by other undocumented students, I participated in last year's Tour de Dreams, and have since taken action to promote the passage of the Federal DREAM Act.”
With the passage of the Federal DREAM Act, undocumented students would be given the opportunity to turn their struggles into successes, thus also benefitting all of California. At a time when economic projections for California suggest that by 2025 two of every five jobs will require a college graduate, we must ensure that all students have equal access to higher education. By denying undocumented students the opportunity to qualify for federal financial aid and legal immigration status, we risk the educational successes of many. Without the Federal DREAM Act, we are in danger of losing the brilliant minds and exceptional work of an entire group of highly talented young people.
Schedule and tentative route:
Aug 10th UC Berkeley to San Jose State University
Aug 11th San Jose State University to UC Santa Cruz
Aug 12th UC Santa Cruz to Cal State University, Monterey Bay
Aug 13th Cal State University, Monterey Bay to King City
Aug 14th King City to Paso Robles
Aug 15th Paso Robles to Guadalupe
Aug 16th Guadalupe to UC Santa Barbara
Aug 17th UC Santa Barbara to Oxnard
Aug 18th Oxnard to UC Los Angeles
Closing ceremony: UCLA, Bruin Plaza at 4:00PM. Please contact Evelyn Martínez at
(818) 212-1675 or evelyn.yunuen [at] gmail.com for more details.