Geniuses and Dreamers: Hope for a Clean Dream Act Lies in Both

October 25, 2017

If a MacArthur Genius Award is any indication that your work is headed in the right direction, Cristina Jiménez, should feel especially hopeful. The United We Dream co-founder was recognized as a 2017 MacArthur Fellow for her unflagging work to change the national conversation on immigration – most recently in support of a clean Dream Act. This news, along with national actions taken by Border Dreamers and other social justice activists and organizers, helps us look past Trump to the successes we know are possible.

A photo of MacArthur Genius Grant awardee Cristina Jiménez, Executive Director of United We Dream speaking at the 2017 Creative Change Awards

Communications Institute Fellow and Creative Change alumna Cristina Jiménez (CI ’12. CC ’16), co-founder of United We Dream, has been named a 2017 MacArthur Fellow, one of the most prestigious honors that creative leaders can receive in the United States. “For me, this recognition is a recognition of the lives of undocumented people, of the work that we have been doing to advocate and create change,” she told The Washington Post. Cristina’s work has helped change the national conversation on immigration and create a new youth-led model of social justice organizing and movement building. She is currently leading United We Dream in its fight to pass a clean Dream Act and stop deportations. Text HereToStay to 877-877 to learn more.

Earlier this week, Border Dreamers from California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas met with members of Congress and urged them to pass a clean and bipartisan Dream Act without further militarizing border communities by the end of the year. They pointed out that 1 in 5 Dreamers live in border communities and that increasing militarization in the border region threatens the safety of millions of people. “It is unconscionable that Congress would use Border Dreamers as bargaining chips to further militarize the southern border region,” the Southern Border Communities Coalition wrote in a press release. Learn more about The Real Dream campaign.

A coalition of civil rights, labor, community and environmental groups created the Our Neighborhoods, Our Future coalition to stand up against corporate giveaway and privatization plans, while fighting to give local people a say in the infrastructure projects they need. The coalition wrote an open letter to Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos about its plan for its second headquarters (HQ2). The company plans to bring 50,000 new jobs to the U.S. city it chooses as its location.

A photo of the documentary The Problem with Apu featuring the popular Indian character from The Simpsons

Creative Changer and Comedian Hari Kondabolu’s (CC ’16) new documentary "The Problem with Apu" debuts on truTV on Sunday, Nov. 19. In the documentary, Kondabolu confronts his long standing “nemesis” Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – the Indian convenience store owner on The Simpsons. Through this comedic exposé, Kondabolu questions how this controversial caricature was created, burrowed its way into the hearts and minds of Americans and continues to exist – intact – twenty-eight years later. Learn more.

A couple of Creative Change alumni have been recognized by the Ford Foundation: Creative Change alumni Carlton Turner (CC ’12, CC ’09) and Lori Pourier (CC ’12, CC ’10) were named Art of Change Ford Foundation Fellows. The Fellowship acknowledges artists and cultural leaders who demonstrate a commitment to social justice and reflect a powerful diversity of experiences and creative voices. Lori focuses her efforts on helping to enhance Native American communities and bringing new philanthropic resources to Native artists and culture bearers directly. Carlton is the executive director of Alternate ROOTS, which supports artists working at the intersection of art and social justice.

This week is Million Hoodies’ We Keep Us Safe national week of action. The network offers a rapid response platform that provides communities with tools to educate themselves and take immediate action during moments of crisis. Co-Founder and Executive Director Dante Barry (CI ’15, CC ’16) hopes that activists, advocates, and “everyday people” will join the call for action by sharing their stories and mobilizing others to keep communities of color safe. Join the network!