By Sam Le
Northwest Asian Weekly
37 days, 1,255 miles, and one important mission.
“Dream Riders” gathered with community leaders and city officials at Seattle City Hall on Aug. 1 to launch their Journey to Justice. From Seattle to San Diego, Dream Riders will ride their bicycles through major cities, meeting with communities to educate them on issues of immigration that are impacting the Asian, Pacific Islander, and other immigrant communities.
“Back in February, the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) was the lead group to organize the 2018 Journey to Justice effort. Our goals are to really address the issues of immigrant challenges in becoming citizens and giving them the justice and equity they deserve. That’s why we use the hashtag Citizenship4All,” shared Sam Yu, the communications lead for Journey to Justice.
Michele Suarez of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project said this is a very important way to show support to immigrant families, especially in light of the terrible and devastating news in the last few weeks.
Kris Larsen of Adoptee Without Citizenship, who was adopted from Vietnam, shared his personal struggle of living in the United States.
“I’m hoping through my story that we are able to shed light on the real problem that adoptees without citizenship are facing in this country, and I thank the Dream Riders for riding for so many days and miles to uplift this important truth.” Some of the key issues Journey to Justice wishes to highlight include adoption, asylum seeking, and DACA, in order to provide complete pathways to citizenship.
Attorneys, undergraduate and graduate students, activists, entrepreneurs, small business owners, athletes, and artists make up the profile for the Dream Riders — a group where every rider come from varying backgrounds, but share the same goal.
“Glo,” who requested not to reveal his last name, is one of the Dream Riders and undocumented. “It is comforting to know that there are others who have been through the same experiences, pain, anger, and frustrations, and to have a community of people that want to work together to better our lives, as well as the millions of other lives.” He said that there are so many things people take for granted.
“When you’re born in the United States, you just don’t understand that there are so many things required to go from non-citizen to citizen. You can’t just come here and say you want to be a citizen. It takes many years of sponsorship, thousands of dollars, and complex application processes. The system in place is not working. We ought to be able to migrate for different purposes, running away from domestic violence, or war.”
Another Dream Rider, “Alice,” who also requested not to reveal her last name, said that “as an undocumented Asian American, young woman, I have so much privilege to advocate for my community. I am physically able, have access to higher education and resources, and less likely to be targeted by immigration enforcement. So, I decided to use my privilege for something very meaningful, because everyone deserves to live where they want to live.”
Journey to Justice is following up on the efforts of the group of immigrant youth from NAKASEC, in order to stop tearing families apart, and taking away pathways of citizenship for undocumented youth.
The press conference ended with the Dream Riders and attendees in rousing song.
“We dream! We ride! On our journey to justice we rise! We stand! As one and we celebrate unity, community, education, love, and people power! We dream! We ride! On our Journey to Justice.
For more information, visit godreamriders.org.
Sam Le can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.