As part of Chicago Youth Service Day on Saturday, April 30, 2011, more than 100 Kelly High School students traveled to St. Nicholas Church on Chicago's southwest side to join immigrants, community leaders, and elected officials to raise their voice for progressive immigration legislation.
Kelly students have long been interested in the DREAM Act and have fought for passage of the act which would enable thousands of children of immigrants to access loans and scholarships to attend colleges and universities. Currently, children of undocumented immigrants are not able to attend college because of funding being denied.
A second piece of proposed legislation, the Smart Enforcement Act, would enable local governments to choose whether they want to cooperate with a federal enforcement program that targets hardened criminals but also has led to the deportation of undocument immigrants arrested for misdemeanor crimes.
Immigrant advocacy groups say they hope Illinois can begin to reverse the trend of pro-enforcement state measures that have been sweeping across the country.
By participating in the rally, Kelly students learned about first amendment rights to assemble and petition the government. They also learned to raise their voice for causes the believe in.
According to Service-Learning Coordinator Raul Magdaleno, Kelly students brought energy and spirit to the gathering on Saturday. The rally was sponsored in part by the Illinois Caucus for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.