The Dream 9. (Credit: NBC Latino)
1. Quebecois Unionism Comes to Madison
When students from Quebec come to the United States, we are shocked at the institutional abuse and economic burden students are facing. It feels like the few who can still reach college are only one slice of a more widely impoverished and racially segregated population, and for us this rings a bell. We’ve been fighting fiercely against tuition hikes much smaller than those happening every year in many states and campuses, and it is because we have fought that those hikes were smaller, or didn’t happen at all. Contrary to some who would rather talk up the “Quebec exception” or Quebecers as “natural lefties,” we see things otherwise. We are facing the same kinds of challenges as US students, and we are not always winning against apathy and demobilization. But we can’t just talk about what we do. Where people are organizing student unions—like those from Colorado, Michigan and New Jersey, whom we met at this month’s National Student Power Convergence—we want to help create the kind of sustained mass organizations that function according to direct democracy, with assemblies where all students are invited to motion, amend and vote rather than watch others do it in their name. If it’s not students fighting for the abolition of tuition and institutionalized racism, then who?
2. Dream 9 Rejoin the Struggle at Home
Over the last two years, the Kentucky Dream Coalition has been fighting for immigrant rights. In March, we held a speak-out when Senator Marco Rubio, who does not represent the values or experiences of our communities, came to the University of Louisville. On August 1, twelve people occupied Congressman John Yarmuth’s office for the Dream 9. With the support of the brother of Dream 9 member Ceferino Santiago and two organizers from the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, we were able to get Yarmuth to change positions and support the release of the Dream 9 within four hours of occupation. That same evening, we left for the National Student Power Convergence in Madison, where we performed with Jasiri X and strategized with cross-state allies, like Milwaukee’s Youth Empowered in the Struggle, on building intersectional youth power. With the release of the Dream 9 and Ceferino Santiago’s return to Kentucky, we are working to pass the Friendly City Ordinance, which will help protect undocumented immigrants in the Louisville area, and continue fighting family separation in Kentucky.