By Folabi Olagbaju
In less than two weeks, many young Maryland residents may begin living their American dream, as Maryland makes a final push toward becoming the twelfth state in the nation to allow undocumented student who meet specific requirements to pay in-state tuition at public colleges.
But victory can come only if enough people turn out and vote ‘for’ on Question 4 in the November 6 referendum.
According to recent polling by the Washington Post, 6 in 10 voters in Maryland back the DREAM Act. Supporters, including members of Lutheran congregations, are working hard to push those numbers up, because that’s a razor-thin margin.
Over the remaining few days leading up to November 6, I will be joining hundreds of other DREAM Act supporters in phone-banking, door-to-door canvassing, and other activities organized by Educating Maryland Kids and CASA de Maryland to educate voters and get out the “for” vote on Question 4. Will you join me in making the DREAM a reality for Maryland youths? Please click here to learn how.
As part of related statewide activities, on October 30, the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Catonsville will co-host a community discussion about the Maryland DREAM Act with a neighboring Presbyterian church. The event will include a DREAMer who would benefit from a victory in the DREAM Act referendum.
On that same evening, I will be in Silver Spring attending a fundraiser hosted by District 20 to support the DREAM Act. Slated to speak at the event are Senator Jamie Raskin, as well as delegates Sheila Hixson, Tom Hucker, and Heather Mizeur.
You probably know by now that a win in this referendum will ensure fairness and equity in access to higher education, especially for those who have been systematically locked out because of their immigration status. Imagine the case of Jonathan Jayes-Green, who came to Maryland as a child. Although he graduated from his high school with a 4.04 grade point average and was admitted to six selective universities, Jonathan could not attend any of them because he was ineligible for in-state tuition and financial aid due to his immigration status. He enrolled and graduated with honors from Montgomery College. Jonathan’s case and those of many others like him inspired the Board of Trustees of Montgomery College to pass a resolution in support of the Dream Act this summer.
You can make a difference for Jonathan and DREAMers like him by educating your family, friends, and congregation members, and by getting out the vote. For more information on the Maryland DREAM Act and the November 6 Referendum, please visit http://blog.lirs.org/dream.