Out of the Shadows in the Suburbs

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As I rush home through traffic, I’m constantly driving past great things that are happening in Chicago. It’s seldom that I stop to see a friend, check out a shop or even snap a picture. This afternoon, a different route home and a small detour rewarded me with an experience that I couldn’t have witnessed in the comfort of my home.

Nuestra Voz is a non-profit, youth-driven organization that helps promote education among Latinos in the Western Suburbs. They fully support the rights of undocumented students and believe that they deserve to continue their education, regardless of immigration status.

On April 20, five brave students stood atop a flatbed truck and sent their message throughout the streets of Melrose Park. “I’m undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic!” Their testimonials were reminiscent of ones I’d heard in the past but hearing the same story from a new batch of students in the same situation is even more moving. It warms my heart to see them invoke Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers Union and I find comfort in the fact that their attitudes and  slogans are more confident than they have ever been.

Arianna's intervied for the nightly news

However, the moment that stuck with me the most was when the mother of a young organizer took the stage. Children make their parents proud everyday but this mother took the mic to express that she was envious of her daughter for being able to stand up in a way that she could never have the courage to do. Arianna is clearly a fierce young woman and I’m glad that she’s pushing for the DREAM Act.

On a day when high school students across the country are smoking the afternoon away, Arianna and Nuestra Voz were standing in the cold to support students that believe in the importance of higher education. Tell me what the crime is in this situation.

Photos of the event can be seen at Catch Photo

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