Demonstrators Hold Protest to Promote DREAM Acts

Photo: Community organizers and local students marched Monday on Telegraph Avenue to advocate the passage of the DREAM Acts.
Evan Walbridge/Photo
Community organizers and local students marched Monday on Telegraph Avenue to advocate the passage of the DREAM Acts.

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Dream Act Protest

BAMN organizers called for a statewide day of action on September 27th to bring attention to the Dream Act issue.

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With signs, a saxophone and a megaphone in hand, some 60 demonstrators, including community organizers and students from UC Berkeley, local high schools and across the state, gathered on Upper Sproul Plaza Monday to promote affirmative action and the passage of the California and federal DREAM Acts.

The protest, organized by activist group By Any Means Necessary, was held in light of the upcoming deadline for the passage of the California Assembly bills 1460 and 1413 - referred to together as the California DREAM Act - which are slated to be passed into law by Thursday, unless vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The federal DREAM Act - which failed to be added to a larger spending authorization bill in the Senate last week but may be voted on in the future - and the state bills seek to increase financial aid access for undocumented students.

Students and teachers from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and Oakland Technical, Skyline and Castlemont high schools congregated on Sproul bearing signs reading "Dream Act Now! Build the Movement to Fight the New Jim Crow," "Por Cualquier Medio" and "Make the Dream A Reality." The protesters then marched to Oakland Technical via Telegraph Avenue, chanting "Hell no, we won't go," where 50 more students joined. They then moved to the state and federal buildings.

About 20 students, teachers and organizers later took part in a sit-in at the Oakland Unified School District building.

"The racist treatment of immigrants in society carries over into every aspect of society," said Yvette Felarca, a King Middle School teacher and national organizer for BAMN.

Sister protests were organized across California and the nation. Protesters said Monday's demonstration pertained to larger immigrant rights issues as well.

Giovanna Gomez, an Oakland Technical sophomore, cited the impending deportation of 10-year Oakland Technical math teacher Evelyn Francisco as her inspiration for protesting.

"The district said they'd sign her VISA," Gomez said. "Now they're saying, 'You need to go back to your country.' It's not sensible; we don't have another teacher. That's not OK."

Contact Noor Al-Samarrai at [email protected]

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