In Chicago, there was a special celebration Wednesday night for "El Grito" or the Cry for Independence at Millennium Park.
It's nice that people went out to hear mariachis, toast and celebrate Mexico. In Mexico, however, many celebrations were scaled back due to fears of violence as a result of the drug war.
But I suggest we celebrate by doing something more than singing, dancing or a tequila shot. How about a dose of activism?
You can support immigrant youth by calling senators and congressmen and telling them to support the DREAM Act. This is legislation that would create a pathway to legalization for undocumented youth brought to the United States as minors and who complete two years of college or military service.
The Immigrant Youth Justice League, based in Chicago, is working with immigrant rights groups to muster 10,000 calls in support of this legislation. For more information, go to Dream Activist.org
There is some movement in Washington, D.C. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) announced Tuesday that he will attach the DREAM Act to a defense bill expected to go before the Senate next week.
"This amendment will ensure that millions of children who grow up as Americans will be able to get the education they need to contribute to our economy. Students who come to America before age 16 and who have been here for five years should be able get their green card after they go to college or serve in the military. And many who have volunteered to defend our country can finally become citizens of it," Reid said in a statement posted on The Hill.
Also on Wednesday, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) announced that he will introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill later this month. Menendez and Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) are slated to meet with President Obama Thursday afternoon to talk about immigration issues.
These are hopeful signs of progress in the fight for immigration reform. Let's work to empower immigrant youth and hard-working immigrants so they can be truly independent and an equal part of our society.