Today, I was arrested in Washington, DC.
The reason for my arrest today goes back over three years. In January 2010, I watched four undocumented youth walk from Miami to Washington, DC, advocating for the DREAM Act - a bill that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young people.
It was that walk through the South - a land where I grew up and knew well - that inspired me to start organizing. As I followed their progress, I knew exactly what risks they were taking to walk those roads as out, proud, undocumented youth. I was proud that they were showing the courage to stand up for their own worth, their own value, their own humanity – and I was shocked that I wasn't seeing the leadership of the LGBTQ community taking the same kinds of risks for LGBTQ equality.
I had been supportive of immigration reform as a progressive issue previously but, as we made political alliances and decisions together, I internalized the need for immigration reform. I cannot - I will not - continue to organize with people who have showed such enormous courage without showing just a fraction of the courage they've shown. Today, I was compelled to answer the call to demand a more just, more humane, and more equitable immigration system by sitting down on the streets of DC in order to call on Congress to STAND UP for immigration reform.
We all know what then happened in December 2010 – “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” was narrowly repealed, while the DREAM Act was narrowly defeated. That day was gut-wrenching – as happy as I was to see the ridiculously discriminatory DADT kicked to history's dustbins, I felt sick to my stomach that DREAMers across this country were left to fend for themselves – and subsequently were deported, by the thousands, by a Democratic president.
Over the past three years, those fighting for immigration and those fighting for LGBTQ equality have continued to build relationships – both personal and political. I was enormously proud to be able to bring one of the walkers on the Trail of Dreams – Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez – on board to lead GetEQUAL, together as co-directors. And even as Felipe and I envision together a world in which LGBTQ Americans are equal under the law, I know that we must all put our hands to the plow and all must take risks to ensure that vision becomes a reality.
Today, I was arrested as part of a mass civil disobedience action in Washington, DC - I joined 100 other women from across the country who sat down in the street in front of Congress in order to call on House Leader John Boehner to STAND UP for immigration reform.
Join me in telling John Boehner to STAND UP for comprehensive immigration reform.
We have the opportunity, right now, to do everything we can to ensure that this chance to create a “more perfect union” doesn't pass us by, again. I remember how I felt when the DREAM Act failed to pass – and I don't want to watch our chance to pass comprehensive immigration reform endure a similar fate. I'm willing to do everything possible to ensure that we don't squander that opportunity – and I hope you'll join me in calling on Congress to stand up for comprehensive immigration reform!
Power concedes nothing without a demand,
Co-director of GetEQUAL