Carlos Amador, a recent graduate of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Master of Social Welfare Program (MSW), recently penned his experience participating in a hunger strike calling for the passage of the federal DREAM act.
In “This is Our Country Too: Undocumented Immigrant Youth Organizing and the Battle for the Dream Act,” Amador, who completed his MSW this past Spring, and who is currently in the process of gaining his own U.S. citizenship, tells of the 15-day hunger strike held in Los Angeles. The following is an excerpt from the article:
“I am with ten other hunger strikers plus volunteers camping in the corner of two major streets in the west side of Los Angeles, California. We have been outside the offices of U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein for over a week as part of a hunger strike calling for the passage of the federal DREAM act to legalize immigrant undocumented students….I am low in energy and walking becomes difficult. I have an empty stomach, but at least the headaches are gone by now. That morning we made the collective decision to continue with the hunger strike for another five days. The decision didn’t frighten anyone in the group as we stayed committed to the immigrant youth movement. We were continuing in the tradition of Cesar Chavez for a nonviolent struggle: this time for the rights of undocumented immigrants across the country….The cold nights, the hard floor we slept on, the loud noise of traffic, and the long days without food, they all reminded me of how much we desire to belong to a country we see as ours too.”*
In the article, Amador also chronicles the DREAM act from its introduction in 2009 and its journey to the U.S. Senate floor in various forms, through its defeat in the Senate in December of 2010. He also discusses the continuing youth movement to support the passage of the DREAM Act, concluding, “As the movement matures, opportunities for meaningful victories arise and the hope that the DREAM Act will pass becomes more real.”
With the publication of his article, “Carlos continues to display the scholarship and leadership for which we recognized him as student of the year when he graduated,” said Mary Kay Oliveri, Social Welfare field faculty member and diplomate in clinical social work. Oliveri, who also serves as President of the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) added, “It is both a credit to him and a wonderful reflection on how our program helps to train a young man with the promise Carlos demonstrated early in his course with us.”
*Critical Planning (Summer 2011) is a publication of the UCLA Department of Urban Planning.