[Editor's note: The Senate will be voting on the DREAM Act early next week, which will create a pathway to legal status for students who graduate high school without papers and without hope. Below, a DREAM Act advocate and undocumented students shares about the need for urgent action from the faith community. Read the post, and email your senator today.]
Various undocumented students (otherwise known as "DREAMers") have staged sit-ins in key senatorial offices to pressure Congress to pass the DREAM Act. Their arrests placed them at risk of being deported, but their message should draw heed from us all.
Remember that seemingly paradoxical saying "whosoever shall lose their life . . . will find it"? Well, that's what the DREAMers are doing by putting their futures at stake in order that the nation understand their plight (Matthew 16:25).
Remember that parable of the individual who sold everything she ever had for a plot of land when she had discovered an insurmountable treasure? Well, that's what the DREAMers are doing by giving up their greatest possession: fear, in search for education and human rights.
Remember the parable of the lamp? A light should not be hid, but placed on high so that all can see. Well, that's what the DREAMers are doing by coming out of the shadows.
Remember the story of Esther who, after three days of prayer, "went into the king, which [was] not according to the law," with the firm resolution that, "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16)? And remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego -- students in exile who, threatened with death, chose not to bend to a false god, knowing full well that they were right? Well, the resolve of Esther, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the same resolve that the DREAMers share.
Remember David who, being the predestined King of Israel within the lineage from which Christ would come, still prayed, "For we are strangers before thee and sojourners, as were all our [parents]" (Chronicles 29:15)? Remember the cries of the Israelites while in Babylon for their homeland? "If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth" (Psalm 137:6). Well, the DREAMers still haven't forgotten the cherished ideals of the Republic: freedom, liberty, and democracy.
Remember that "there is no fear where there is love" (1 John 4:18)? Well, the rallying call of these students is "undocumented and unafraid."
Remember the fruits of the spirit, "love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. "Against such things there is no law" (Genesis 5:22-23)? Well, these students stopped calling themselves illegal long ago.
Remember that we were all made of one blood and form one body (Acts 17:26)? Well, these students are standing up for humanity, as we are all "bone of the bone and flesh of flesh," of the same human race (Genesis 2:23).
Dear friends, we must remember that when "sin abounded, grace over-abounded" (Romans 5:20). Remember that "to err is human, forgiveness divine" (A. Pope). Remember that "any [hu]man's [loss] diminishes me, because I am involved in [hu]mankind" (Donne). Remember that "God's strength is made perfect in our weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Remember that "love bids [us all] welcome" (Herbert), for "the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let [them] that heareth say, Come. And let [them] that are athirst come. And whosoever will, let [them] take the water of life freely" (Revelations 22:17).
Please remember Dr. King's favorite verse: "Behold, here come the dreamer[s] . . . come now let us kill [them] . . . and we shall see what becomes of [their] dreams" (Genesis 37:19-21).
Remember the DREAMers; and let their dreams be not in vain.
The writer of this post is a DREAMer and enjoys painting, poetry, and prayer.