Hundreds of students and community activists held a rally on November 19 at Fresno State University in support of the DREAM Act. The rally was prompted by media reports that the Associated Student president, Pedro Ramirez, was undocumented. The news about Ramirez’s immigration status was first reported earlier that week in the campus Collegian newspaper and later on MSNBC, the BBC and other national and international media outlets.
The rally in the free speech area was disrupted by Tea Party activists who tried to gain media attention by reading a statement just before the rally was to begin. Corporate media at the event swarmed around the Tea Party members, but soon the crowd began chanting and reporters lost interest in the impromptu press conference being held by the Tea Party. The 10–15 Tea Party members were far outnumbered by the hundreds of DREAM Act supporters.
Speakers at the rally were mostly undocumented students who gave their personal stories about how their immigration status has affected them. Also included as a speaker was Fresno State President John Welty who said, “It’s time to pass the DREAM Act.”
Organizers of the event skillfully turned revelations about Pedro Ramirez into an opportunity to mobilize students in support of the DREAM Act at a time when it was being discussed in Congress. They urged rally participants to contact their Congressional representatives to pass the DREAM Act, which will give undocumented students the ability to complete their education.