On Friday, September 8th, UC Davis again hosted the Free Our Dreams event. This Free Our Dreams, like previous events, brought youth from all corners of California, with the help of their adult allies, to come together and have conversations about statewide advocacy strategies for change. The youth came to Davis from as far away as San Diego, Bakersfield, and Eureka.
This event came only a week after President Trump’s decision to repeal the DACA program that supported over 800,000 “dreamers”. The DACA program will be phased out over the next two years.
The DACA program was eligible for undocumented immigrants who had been living in the U.S. before 2007 and were under the age of 30 before 2012. These undocumented immigrants had to be either working or going to school and could not receive federal benefits.
DACA’s removal was a huge topic at this year’s Free Our Dreams event as some of the participants were undocumented or know someone who is. Many youths in attendance are supported by DACA and have many concerns on what to do now.
Throughout the event, there were workshops set up for undocumented youth to participate in and learn more about what happens next. One of these workshops had an undocumented healing circle which allowed youth let out their words and feelings about DACA being repealed through the sharing of personal and emotional stories.
One student from San Francisco City College had more than a few words to say about DACA.
“DACA being revoked was devastating news,” said Cynthia Diaz. “However, DACA was never the solution to what was demanded, but still it offered protection from being separated from this community. I would just want to remind those affected that they are loved and supported, always. We must take initiative to start learning to go beyond DACA and this is by understanding class struggle and political theory. Unified, we will protect each other and build to overcome the system that oppresses us.”
Free Our Dreams allowed many youths to speak their minds. This event ended with many of the youth saying goodbye to each other and letting one another know that they have their support.
“The fact that this conference brought out so many youths from across California and was very well attended and of course productive,” said Diaz. “This is perfect timing to get together as leaders of this state to create dialogue and share brilliant ideas with one another. Many more gatherings are needed, and definitely necessary.”