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The revolution has begun: Dream Act Fails in Senate/Immigrant Students Eyes Now Open

Back in the late eighties, when most of the Dream Act Activists weren't yet born, and their parents were on the way to the baile to meet each other, the middle and upper-class in Dallas was sloshy with Christmas money.  I saw the Dreamer's parents everywhere: landscapers; roofers; the coolest restaurants; carwashes; nannies in the park;  janitors; and if you were up and around in the early morning, you could see packed cars leaving the warehouses, a working-class flood of brown people -- all over Dallas where they'd just completed a late-night shift in some kind of assembly work.

I'm glad, painful as it is for me to say this -- that the Dream Act failed.  Now these beautiful, idealistic, dreamers, are awake to the powerful interests in this country.  Now they will see beyond the hip-hop, Shakiraness of brown commercials to their destiny.  And what is that?  To lead this country, to educate our community, and to teach all of us to vote as never before.  To be different.  To do better than what my civil rights generation has done for you. 

Now they surely see how my mostly white generation and their followers is a tribe of fear -- of these Dreamers and how they will deny them --- as they tried to deny the Blacks in my youth, Cesar Chavez, Vietnam, La Raza, anyone who wanted justice, equality, dignity not defined by the status quo.  Now they see how we have got to do more than show what good, loyal, Americans we are.  

Bullshit.  Patriotic Americans do not start wars that are nightmares, good Americans do not invade other countries, loyalty is a blood-soaked word if it means that we will send the children of the working-class to wars so that we can save our oil and prestige, rewarding the parents with front-page stories of mijitos, medals, and big checks.  So that we can be proud of killing other people and getting killed themselves. That's not my kind of loyalty. 

I want the Dreamers to be the leaders that our President won't be -- and that your parents didn't want, because their dream is for you to have a nice home, new car, and to live in the suburbs.  That is exactly what my immigrant mother wanted for me, and how I disappointed her. But I have not disappointed myself.  In other words, once your "dream" is realized, our parents want us to forget the past.  Live for yourself and your family only.  And in time, as happened too often in my generation, the powerful might just might invite you to join them.  How proud your parents will be.  And then you will compromise all that has happened, because you want to belong.

This is the price of the American dream.  But you are getting a bigger gift for Christmas.  

I am telling you not to belong to anyone or anything except your soul that is not starving, but the richest ocean of all, the deepest gold mine, the bluest sky, and the greenest land of all. You are the dream of this country.  You are the American dream.   The American dream is not about money, or cars, or fame.  It is about justice.  In your group, and the next 65,000 high school undocumented graduating this spring, is a better Jefferson.  A working-class Bolivar.  A Nobel-prize winner.  I know this, I feel it in my bones.   

Those Senators who voted against you are afraid of you, your parents, and your potential to change this country.  Of course it was supposed to change.  It was supposed to change the moment our collective ancestor, el Cristobal Colon, arrived and showed how savage we can be with each other. 

So change the world.  Change everything.  Walk in truth and tell your hard-working parents and neighbors that you are exactly what this country has been waiting for.  Change this picture.

This is your destiny. 

photo:  Former San Antonio city councilwoman Maria Antonietta Berriozabal getting 
arrested at Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's office in San Antonio.  She and esteemed
professor Antonia Castaneda were arrested along with almost a dozen student-dreamers that night.


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