As American citizens the privileges and rights we enjoy are often taken for granted. The real value of rights such as free speech and public education are not fully appreciated until you meet undocumented students who do not have those rights.
On April 10, 2012, approximately 30 Morgan Park students boarded a school bus and embarked on an activity that fostered sensitivity, compassion and a better understanding of the plight of undocumented students in America. In conjunction with community partner – Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Morgan Park students learned about the situation of undocumented students and participated in an exchange with college students of various cultures who once were illegal immigrants.
The training focused on undocumented students through analyzing the personal stories of how they came to the U.S., the factors motivating their parents to bring their families here, and the constant state of fear each faced as a result of their illegal status. Their stories put a face on the value of the of the DREAM Act of Illinois.
The Dream Act signed by Governor Quinn on August 1, 2011, grants privileges to undocumented children of immigrants and allows them access to financial aid for postsecondary scholarships, college savings and prepaid tuition programs, previously unavailable to them, provided that specific guidelines are met and that said students graduated from Illinois high schools.
Following the training and student to student exchange, Morgan Park students held signs, listened to speeches and marched alongside other students in support of the Dream Act and proper documentation of illegal immigrants at Daley. On May 8, 2012, Morgan Park students will join other students in Springfield with the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights to address issues with legislators pertaining to the Dream Act. The Morgan Park group will also address the Leave No Child Inside Movement and Charter School Assessment.