Tag Archives: DREAMers

Dream Away: Washington Dream ACT Coalition Is Led by and for Undocumented Youth

by Kamna Shastri

Ray Corona knew hardly anything about politics and even less about the Washington State Legislature. Yet, as a high school student in 2009, he boldly stood at the head of a room full of legislators in Olympia and testified for a bill that would alter the lives of undocumented young adults forever. He was one of the first students to speaks candidly about his status as an undocumented person. Little did he know that the other students waiting in line to speak were not going to be doing that.

“In many ways that was the first time I sort of came out very publicly about my status, on the record for the [Washington] State Dream Act. That is sort of what prompted my activism with [the] immigrant community, specifically with the undocumented community,” said Corona.

Many of the other young students who had come to testify at this public hearing were part of other organizations and had been coached and mobilized to testify before the Legislature. Corona, however, had heard about the proposed bill from his school counselor who urged him to get involved.

From there, Corona began to organize and became friends with Monserrat Padilla (now at Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network). The two created what was at the time the Washington Dream Act Coalition (WADAC), a coalition that was led by and for young undocumented students.

“We wanted to make sure undocumented youth were at the center and were the ones coming up with these solutions because as the campaign evolved for the State Dream Act, there were many times that allies were willing to compromise just to get a bill passed,” said Corona.

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