by Lily Eskelsen
Wednesday I will stand on the West Lawn of our nation’s capitol with thousands of others and demand that a dream come true.
Congress isn’t Disneyland and I am not wishing on a star for Tinker Bell to wave a magic wand. It’s not that kind of dream.
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Real dreams aren’t about magic. They’re about work and sacrifice and never giving up. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that his children would live in a world that judged them by the content of their character and not the color of their skin; That there would be a place for them in the country that they loved that simply offered them the same equal opportunity, as anybody else, to live their lives as far as their talents and hard work and luck would take them.
It is not by accident that the immigration movement is defined by the word “dream.” Decades of a hopeless immigration system that defies logic and which has left entire communities frightened, confused, with mothers separated from children and families often the victims of unscrupulous people who cheat vulnerable people into paying their life’s savings to navigate the quagmire of an undecipherable bureaucracy only to find they have lost every dime and no promised papers to show for it.
It’s broken. It’s time to fix it.
The impact of this broken system on our students can be seen in their eyes. And we are teachers. We look into those eyes.
Monserrat Garibay is an NEA member and a preschool teacher from Austin, Texas. When she was a child, she came to the United States with her parents but without her documentation. She was what we call a Dreamer – people who dream of becoming a citizen the United States, but because of decisions that were made for them as a child, are ineligible. Monserrat returned to Mexico, studied hard and was able to finally return and become a citizen. Many Dreamers do not have that option. Monserrat understands the fear and the hope.