In solidarity with the DACA community
With your help, over the past few months I've been immersed in production and post-production of the Waking Dream pilot--we are almost at a rough cut of the pilot episode. I’ve had the privilege of capturing the complex stories of 3 incredible people with DACA permits, as well as filming numerous DACA actions and protests, and working along-side many DACAmented people in myriad ways, not just in this project, but over the past decade.
Yesterday morning, the White House rescinded DACA. Starting in 6 months, the 800,000 Dreamers who grew up in this country and now have work permits and deportation protection, will start to lose their ability to work, drive, get health insurance, and will be at risk of deportation.
As this abhorrent announcement from the white house spread across the country, I was filming with one of the Waking Dream subjects, Dilan Pedraza. He was busily prepping for his first period class, where he teaches 8th graders how to read and write in an under-performing school district where many students are undocumented. I filmed as Dilan listened to this devastating announcement that may take drastically alter his plan in life, by taking away his ability to teach, go to law school, and run for the mayor of Richmond. As the announcement finished, students started to pour into his class. He took a deep breath, stood up in front of his class, and told the young minds in front of him "The only way out of this situation is knowledge. You learn to read, to write, to think critically, and then we can fight for what we believe in. Whether I can be your teacher or not (pause), I'm going to be here for you, to make sure you succeed." With that, he launched into the lesson of the day with the skill and tenacity of a seasoned teacher, although it's only his second year in the classroom.
I picked up my camera again yesterday afternoon and headed down to the protest in support of DACA in downtown San Francisco, expecting a couple hundred people similar to actions the previous week that I had filmed. As I approached, the traffic was gridlocked for multiple blocks and I soon saw that the streets of San Francisco were shut down—thousands of people clamored in the streets to show their support for DACA and solidarity for with all undocumented immigrants. I filmed the passion, anger, resistance, and love of the masses as we all marched together, processing the Trump administration’s repugnant decision that is wrong morally, ethically, economically, and in so many other ways.
Walking home from the protest, I felt the transition to a new chapter of the fight for immigrant rights. With the revocation of DACA, the massive strength that emanates from our immigrant communities, too powerful to describe in words, along with the millions of non-immigrant allies across the country that are ready to fight for justice, has erupted with a newfound force.
I’ve been deeply connected with the undocumented community for over a decade, creating stories, friendships, sharing experiences, meals, laughs, and tears. Never have I been more committed to the movement for immigrant rights as I am right now, and I will continue this fight alongside my immigrant brothers and sisters for as long as it takes.