Dreaming Out Loud!
by Arely Zimmerman and Sangita Shreshtova
Civic Paths Project
Theme 1: Barriers and Supports
The DREAMing Out Loud! symposium provided the
panelists an opportunity to reflect on how
they have grown their movement through harnessing new media’s technological
and communication affordances. Clearly, immigrant, low-income, undocumented
youth face many barriers to both online participation and civic engagement,
none more important than the lack of financial resources.
Yet, these barriers
do not foreclose their ability to mobilize online communities around their
amongst undocumented immigrant youth, challenging dominant presumptions about how
youth become active and which youth are able to tap social networks behind
their causes. Arely Zimmerman’s research on Dream Activism similarly finds that
youth – including those who are undocumented and low income - are active in organizations supporting
the Dream act also acquired high levels of new media skills. Not only were they
active on social media; they also created new media content and shared it
through platforms such as Flickr and YouTube. Given this context, the Dreaming
Out Loud! panelists spoke openly about how they overcame financial and
other barriers to their political participation.
(source of image:
Erick, for example,
is working towards his journalism degree but has had to take time off because
of financial hardships. Since
2007, Erick has been blogging about his experiences as undocumented youth. Without full-time access to a personal
computer, Erick uses various resources to develop an online presence. With his mother making ends meet as a
street vendor, and his father picking up odd jobs, Erick used a scholarship to
buy an Iphone. Although it doesn’t
have Internet access, Erick uses his Iphone to take pictures, take notes, write
blog entries. He then uploads the content to Facebook and Twitter via SMS text
messaging. Erick notes that, “As
technology progresses it’s becoming easier and easier and easier to be ‘out
Listen to Erick speak about this here:
The lack of access to technology does not keep
these youth from participating online.
Julio Salgado is a co-founder of Dreamers Adrift,
a collective of digital media artists.
After graduating with a degree in journalism from Cal State Long Beach,
he could not put his degree to use.
Working odd jobs primarily in the service industry, he was frustrated by
the lack of opportunities. He
became more active in the Dream movement and used his artistic talents at the
service of the cause. He has developed a personal style that is immediately
recognizable, and his images have been used to represent national conferences,
t-shirts, and other movement iconography.
He recalls how he has used whatever we could to ‘make ends meet’, going
to college parties and gatherings and drawing caricatures of friends to raise
money to pay for books and tuition.
Using his artistic talent, he began posting his drawings of ‘dreamers’
on Facebook using a scanner and photo-booth on his Apple laptop. Soon
thereafter, his pictures garnered national attention.
Reflecting on the barriers he has faced, Julio
says, “that never stops you, you’re so passionate…I need to draw this stuff”.
See Julio’s video “Wall of Dreams” here: