On April 10, 2013, Bellevue College’s Amnesty International club held an event entitled, “Migration is Beautiful” in support of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. The DREAM Act is a piece of bipartisan legislation that aims to give undocumented students a path to citizenship. Several states including Washington have their own versions of the DREAM Act. The Washington DREAM Act, for example, would give undocumented students access to the State Need Grant, Washington State’s largest financial aid program. It would not, however, offer students a path to citizenship. Amnesty International put on the event to raise awareness about the DREAM Act and to encourage students to be more vocal in their support for the beneficiaries of the Act, often referred to as “Dreamers.”
At the event, a documentary-style video called “Voice of Art: Migration is Beautiful” was shown which followed Favianna Rodgriguez, an immigration activist who co-founded two groups, Culture Strike and Presente.org, which aim to fight anti-immigration legislation.
“Immigrants have become a scapegoat for things that are wrong with this country,” said Rodgriguez in the film.
Amnesty International in conjunction with BC’s Film Club also set up a camera in the hallway where students could express their support for the DREAM Act. The video will be uploaded to the BC Film Club website in approximately two weeks and will represent BC in support of undocumented students. “This video is to get not just students directly or personally affected by the issue but people all over the campus who understand that this is not just an issue for students who are undocumented,” said Amnesty International Co-President Magenta Loera. “This is a human rights issue.”
Loera said that the Office of Student Legislative Affairs recently surveyed students about which issues weren’t getting enough attention with the DREAM Act being one of them. She has appealed to other cultural groups on campus including the Black Student Union, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer Resource Center as well as El Centro Latino to garner support. “Everyone should be concerned about it and everyone should care about the DREAM Act and stand in solidarity with the Dreamers,” said Loera.
Heidi Mejicanos, a BC student and supporter of the DREAM Act, said, “I think it’s really important because some students don’t have enough money to afford to pay for tuition or live on their own, so it holds people back from making a career and having a good future.”
Moving forward, Loera said she would like to raise awareness not just about the Washington DREAM Act but for the federal legislation as well. “Migration is Beautiful”, the documentary shown at the event, is available for free on YouTube, and visit the BC Film Club’s website for updates on the DREAM Act video.