This, has been a long time coming. And it comes inspired from news long overdue.
Kicking off this blog has had a bumpy ride, living at the end of my to-do list for months on end. And this last week I felt like, well damn, if I don’t got anything to say about all that’s happening, then I may as well cross it off the list for good. So here I am. And here it goes. Because there is so much more to come.
At this point, the news is out there. Last Friday, President Obama made an announcement that DHS will grant deferred action to eligible young people for two years along with potential work authorization.
Reaction has been whirling from all sides. I’ve been listening for the analysis and next steps from folks who brought this victory forward. It seems fair to say the collective hope is for this development to provide at least temporary relief. How much celebration and how much caution is a subject of debate, but it also seems like most also agree that there is much work to do. At this moment, I think the most important thing allies can do is help spread the word of what this means (correct info, por favor!) to ensure the maximum amount of people who can benefit do. Second, its important to promote the youth/student organizations that organized and worked to make this happen. Victories should strengthen movement. And if the leading organizations don’t come out of this stronger, we’ve missed something. And lastly, we must be alert to ensure implementation. The devils in the details, folks. Sometimes, implementation of a victory is just as hard as winning the concession in the first place.
Reflecting on what happened, and what made this happen actually inspired the name for this blog. The InBetween. Sometimes its the things in between the big moments where change really happens. What do I mean by that? I mean that there are victories along the way, breakthroughs, a rollar coaster ride featuring an entire spectrum of emotions. In between the big(ish) moments, there are those whose names might not be known by all, but whose acts undeniably impact the outcome. There are ways where we, at the end of it all, are no longer the same. And this all usually happens when the media is not around, the spotlights are dim and its just the grind.
So many times in organizing, its hard to feel the impact of our actions. I used to call it, with love of course, “sucking blood out of stone.” And yes, I am a True Blood fan, and no, I’m not trying to be negative about the nature of the work…its just that I’ve grown to appreciate what it takes to make things happen. Appreciate it, and be tremendously frustrated by it as well sometimes. But in those moments when we see a light at the end of the tunnel, its those moments when you realize, you are not where you started.
That perhaps is the thing that cannot be quantified in this growing movement of young people. The change that occurs when a person makes the choice to say out loud – this affects me. I am that person who is ‘undocumented’, the one who is losing their home, I’m unemployed, I’m a survivor. We can’t measure the impact of a conversation with others impacted by the same problem or people who may relate to it and want to support – and what it feels like when all of a sudden, you’re at an event or an action and there that person is, standing next to you. There is a richness and a story that must be told of those moments.
And in my daily ritual of “sucking blood out of stones”…I have the opportunity to change myself and witness change in others. That’s the story I’d like to tell. With that said, there is so much more to do. And what I most want to celebrate, is that in the more than a decade long struggle for what started as the Dream Act, we now have thousands and thousands of young people who are part of this movement, changing this movement and leading it. We are stronger because of it.