This fall, LIRS is participating in the DREAM Act Sabbath campaign in partnership with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition. This campaign is a nationwide movement to invite faith communities from every tradition to reflect on and humanize issues surrounding the passage of the federal DREAM Act. Over 300 events are taking place across the country; on October 5, LIRS attended a DREAM Sabbath on Capitol Hill.
As is happening at DREAM Act Sabbaths everywhere, a DREAM student shared her personal experiences as an undocumented student. Gaby Pacheco spoke movingly about the significance of the DREAM Act for her hopes of becoming a special education teacher. After readings from Christian and Hebrew holy texts, Joe Zogby, counsel from Senator Durbin (D-IL)’s office spoke. Senator Durbin is the sponsor of the DREAM Act and a long-time champion for the bill.
Having supported Senator Durbin’s work on the DREAM Act for many years, Joe spoke about the significant tradition of faith communities’ advocacy for the DREAM Act and recalled the flurry of advocacy activity prior to the DREAM Act vote in December 2010. He shared Senator Durbin’s frustration when he heard from a Senate colleague who planned to pray for the undocumented people who came to this country as children but vote against the DREAM Act.
After the vote failed to pass by a margin of only five votes, Joe thought of that senator while watching the DREAM students in attendance walk out of the Senate gallery, many with tears in their eyes. In sharing this memory, Joe reminded those congregated that while prayer and support are powerful forces, taking action to fix our broken immigration system is a critical part of the equation to bring about change.
The Capitol Hill DREAM Act Sabbath ended with the singing of “This Little Light of Mine.” The hymn echoed both Gaby’s hopes to work as a teacher and the inspiration that hundreds of DREAM Act Sabbath events across the country are providing for those involved in this movement.
To join the campaign and further the hopes of undocumented youth, consider asking your church to hold a DREAM Sabbath or visit the LIRS Action Center to tell your elected officials you support the DREAM Act.