Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The KKK vs Students and the Trail of Dreams...

* Description: A Ku Klux Klan meeting in Gaine...Image via Wikipedia

The KKK vs. Students and the trail of dreams...

Early this year, four students embarked on a 1,500 mile march from Miami to Washington, D.C called the "Trail of Dreams" tour.

Their goal? To raise awareness about our failed immigration policies.

Their challenge? To do so while avoiding deportation and the wrath of anti-immigrant groups like the KKK.

These students are among the tens of thousands of those who graduate from high school in America each year but are prevented from applying for federal student aid for college or a job because of something entirely out of their control: they are undocumented.

Like many undocumented students, the Trails of Dreams marchers were each brought to the United States while young and have grown up like any other American - volunteering in their community, reaching the honor roll, and applying to top universities.

But our current immigration policies penalize them for decisions made by their parents long ago and prevent them from fully contributing back to the country they love. As one of many examples, one of the Trail of Dreams marchers, Felipe, was accepted to Duke University but had to pass up his dream of attending due to the lack of a Social Security number.

As they walk up the East Coast, the Trail of Dreams marchers are engaging communities in dialogue about the negative impact of our current immigration system. But they are not without opposition, and this past week as they entered Georgia they were greeted by an unwelcome counter-demonstration by a racist blast from the past: the Ku Klux Klan.

The KKK demonstrators accused the students of being part of a "Latino invasion," arguing that "God put each race in their respective continent and they were meant to stay there."

The student marchers' response? They didn't spew back hate, or point fingers, or threaten violence. Instead, they were joined by members of the NAACP and sang songs of freedom and justice.

The contrast between those fighting for tolerance and human rights and those filled with hate and fighting for discrimination couldn't have been starker. And it couldn't have been clearer which group is marching on the side of history.

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