We Are All Dreamers
“All of the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” - Walt Disney
Picture this: You’re at a concert for one of your favorite artists. When it’s over, you begin to make your way towards the exit, but you suddenly lock eyes with someone across the venue. You notice that they’re wearing merch of the artist and, in that moment, you just know you have to be their friend. So, naturally, you rush across the venue, being sure to not lose them in a sea of people. Finally, you make it up to them and you slightly embarrass yourself by telling them how precious you think they are. You guys talk, exchange information, and take some pictures. Then, fast forward six years, you guys are now best friends. You’ve traveled together to a handful of states, you guys have stuck by each others’ side through thick and thin. No matter what highs and lows life threw at you, y’all both took each situation as an opportunity to get closer.
Well, that in a nutshell, is the story of me and my best friend, Christian Urrea. It’s weird to sit back and think about how music literally brought us together (and yes, I was the person that rushed across the venue to him) and made us best friends. I couldn’t be more thankful that my life intertwined with his because I now have a best friend that is down for every adventure life is willing to throw at us. Today is Christian’s 21st birthday so it is only fitting that I introduce you to him.
Right now, my mind is running a million miles an hour trying to think of the perfect way to briefly introduce you to my best friend. Christian is, without a doubt, the most selfless person I have ever met in my entire life. He has full-on dedicated his life to being an activist and helping those in need. He volunteers all of the time, literally that is what he likes to do in his free time and I always sit back and admire all that he does. As for his home life, he hasn’t had it easy in the slightest. It has always been just him and his mom living together, with barely any support from his dad, and they struggled a lot growing up. However, despite all of this, Christian never let it taint his views of the world. A few years back, his mom was diagnosed with dementia and over the years, it really took a toll on her. It got so bad that Christian had to move her to live with his grandma because he just couldn’t take care of her properly. So, he then decided to move all the way to Houston to be with his dad, where he again was not shown the support and love he should have been getting. Outside of this, he is a full time student who literally couldn’t be more dedicated to school. He studies communications currently, he just finished an internship with Disney, and he plans to graduate then continue on with his studies, but this time at law school. There is no doubt in my mind that Christian was put on this earth to do great things, and I know for a fact that he will accomplish everything that he puts his mind to.
There is, however, one thing that is, sadly, standing in his way. When Christian was a young boy, he was brought over to the states from Mexico. Luckily, with DACA he has been able to stay here to do all these amazing things, not just for himself, but for others through his activist work. However, once his visa expires this year, he is going to face another tough obstacle because there is no current plan for the DREAM Act to be pushed through congress. Christian is the best person I know, he does way more for society than most people and he faces the tough reality of not being certain of his future as each day passes and he gets closer to his visa running out of time.
This is exactly why I am writing this, to just give a simple reminder to everyone that we can not stop fighting and putting pressure on Congress to pass the DREAM Act. There are plenty of kids, just like Christian, who should not have to stress about leaving their home. Regardless of where they were born, they have created a life here and they should not have to worry about having to give that all up because their DACA expires.
So, now you might be sitting there, thinking about what you can do to help. No worries, I did my research and made a list of the things you can currently do to help this situation.
The first thing is to educate yourself. Understand what the DREAM Act is and how it will provide a path to citizenship for these people. Also, look up the requirements that go into being a DACA recipient. There is so much that goes into it so recognizing that these people have some of the cleanest records of anyone in the states. Knowing exactly what you’re fighting for is the first step to actually being able to help and show your support.
Continue to put pressure on our elected officials. Congress is the final hope for the DREAM Act to be passed so it is important to continue to voice our concerns to the people that will ultimately get the final say. Call 478-488-8059 and it will connect you to Congress where you can leave a message to your specific congress member (whether it’s statewide: senator, or district wide: representative) and you can tell them how you, as their constituent, want them to put the DREAM Act in their agenda. It will only take a few minutes, but it is so important because one person can’t tip the scale. It takes the help of everyone to help put pressure.
If calling isn’t your thing, that is okay. Check out the U.S. Senate contact page and the Directory of Representatives to be able to find the emails of your representatives and congressmen. It only takes a minute and they will have to make note of your email.
Finally, advocate for those that can’t!! One of the most important things is to just speak up and never stop talking about the change we want to see. A lot of these kids do not feel comfortable sharing their stories (and that is totally understandable), so we have to speak out and against all of the injustices that we see. If you have a voice, use it.
To keep up with Christian's journey, follow him on Instagram: @itschristianurrea.