Dreamers walk with stories to tell
Carlos Roa, Felipe Matos, Gaby Pacheco, and Juan Rodriguez walk 16 to 18 miles a day, six days a week. They walk with a vision, and with a story to tell.
On Jan. 1, 2010, four current or former Miami Dade College students left Miami on a walk to Washington D.C. to protest what they say is a need for an immigration reform. Three of the four walkers are undocumented and could face deportation. The movement known as the Trail of Dreams is scheduled to culminate on May 1 when the walkers are scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C.
Every day the group wakes up at 6:30 a.m. They’ve met some resistance along the way. According to Roa, the walkers have been stopped by police on several occasions, but none have threatened to deport the undocumented students.
“Police officers stop us all the time. They ask us what we’re doing and we tell them we’re walking to D.C.,” Roa said. “We haven’t had any serious altercations with law enforcement.”
They group also encountered a Ku Klux Klan rally in Georgia that was planned to coincide with the time the walkers passed through the area.
“They were calling us things such as Mexican dogs,” Roa said. “They also said that our women only come to this country to have babies.”
The group has learned to ignore the insults, Roa said.
“A lot of their arguments were based on ignorance,” Roa said. “That’s why we were there, to show that what we’re not what they say we are.”
But the walkers have also received support. Different churches and schools feed and house the walkers each night, Roa said.
“This has been an incredible experience,” Roa said. “I’ve learned so much and have met so many people with stories that will blow your mind.”
The Trail of Dreams has also received some media coverage. The four walkers were followed by a CNN reporter through part of their journey. The New York Times and the Washington Post have written about their efforts, and they were featured on “Rick’s List,” a news and commentary program hosted by journalist Rick Sanchez.
On March 21, thousands of people traveled to Washington D.C. in support of an immigration reform. Included in that group were students from Miami Dade College’s North Campus and people from all across Miami-Dade County, who traveled 20 hours on bus to voice their support.
“If more people would get involved, there would be change,” said 18-year-old chemical engineering student, AlbertoRuiz, who made the trip to D.C. “I think it’s amazing what the walkers are doing.”
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