A unique problem, a fundamental element

December 9, 2008

‘Tis the recipe for activism. 

Build personal relationships. Organize. Do. Grow. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

Many activist before us have prepared this successful dish. Those who follow us will likely do the same. What then, is ruining our meal?

Organizing, doing, and growing take a dedicated team, a vision, a plan, an execution. These elements require a lot of hard work. On part of the students affected by the injustice, the real work has began. The motivation, self-interest, and effective leadership will ensures that the work continues and that the issue be taken to its end. This is in line with social justice movements of the past, along with the fundamental element that is hindering our progress, fear of prosecution.

Hardly unique, one might say. People of color, immigrants, low-wage workers, and countless other groups have been prosecuted as far as written history can take us. However, our fear of prosecution is unique in relation to modern day groups who fight for, say, a greener country, reforms in the electorate system, better health-care, even those on the other side of our ideological fence; those who try to ship us out like cattle, educated, all American cattle. However dysfunctional, the law is on their side. Whether we like to admit it or not, this greatly limits what we can do as a community. The result?

If the best strategy to destroy an activist movement is to segment and divide it, then we are doing our opposition a service by fearing to share the most basic information such as our first names. Don’t even talk about meeting face to face “until DREAM passes”. Our assumption is that we can organize, do, and grow without tying a face to our DAP screen names. Perhaps. However, we can’t build true personal relationship without sharing anything personal at the fear of prosecution.

I find it ironic that most beneficiaries of the DREAM Act, present company included, spend so much energy keeping their true identity and life long struggle concealed, especially, wait for it… from those closest to them, as if we are advocating something immoral or illegal. We are so afraid of prosecution that we fear to utter the words “I am …” This fact is crippling us on a personal and on a social level.

The implication, up to this point, has been that the majority of the people affected by the issue rarely leave the safety of the virtual space and take the issue to the street – to the voting booth – where it really matters. Hence, we must truly cherish those who have, grow their ranks, as well as empower those who can’t, by expanding on the methods to contribute in the virtual space. More importantly, lets undermine fear, that cripling, fundamental element.

My name is Nikolay, and I will work with you to make our lucid DREAM a reality.


Inspired, in part, by Organize for Social Change