On March 14th, the Arab American Association of New York joined forces with the New York Immigration Coalition at the state’s capital to push for the passage of the New York State DREAM Act, among other unifying concerns. The trip to Albany was dubbed an Immigrants’ Day of Action and provided an opportunity for community members to speak directly with state legislatures and explain how the passage of the act would impact their communities. Over 1000 people came out for the day.
The DREAM Act would ensure that all students graduating from New York public schools are eligible for financial assistance in higher education regardless of their immigration status.
Last Wednesday, a group from the South Brooklyn community met bright and early at the Arab American Association and loaded a bus to Albany. South Brooklyn high school and college students, as well as potential “Dreamers,” joined community members, parents, and activist in the Day of Action. The group participated in a morning rally with other New York immigrant rights advocacy groups outside the state capital building. Activists and politicians explained how the act would benefit immigrant communities and the state of New York while members of the Arab American Association held signs supporting education equality.
In the afternoon, our group met with our local representatives, Assembly Woman Nicole Malliotakis and Senator Marty Golden in an effort to convince them to sign on to the DREAM Act. Students shared their personal stories of how they attended New York public schools, yet were unable to pursue higher education.
This trip provided a great opportunity for the South Brooklyn community to engage in politics and influence policies that will directly affect their community. We look forward to continuing to engage our community in local and state politics!
-Katherine Kusiak Carey