On Tuesday, several MYD members got on a bus headed for Albany with one goal in mind: to talk to state lawmakers about passing the New York DREAM Act. Among other things, the DREAM Act would allow undocumented youth to access state financial aid programs for college.
Lobby day began with a rally/press conference; we heard from a diverse group of speakers, including state lawmakers, representatives from education groups, and DREAMers themselves.
My team leader Diana, a 16-year old sophomore from the Bronx, told her inspiring story about being brought to this country by her father because he wanted her to have a better life.
After lunch we headed to the Capitol where we met with staffers from various legislators’ offices (because of a last minute debate and vote on the minimum wage bill most of the Assembly members were in session and not in their offices.)
I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to see such young people being so civically engaged. When I was 16, I was hanging out at the mall. These kids are visiting their state legislators and trying to make a difference.
When I became Policy Director, one of my goals was to create more opportunities for our members to engage directly with their state representatives and to advocate for progressive causes. I am so proud that our first lobby day was for such an important cause, and I’m so thankful to the New York State DREAM coalition for making it possible.
In fact, it is making a difference; Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, whose staff we lobbied Tuesday, just became a co-sponsor of the NY DREAM Act!
To read more about these amazing kids, check out the New York State Youth Leadership website.