While Canada threatens to criminalize and viciously worsen the conditions of immigrants, its southern neighbours’ proposed DREAM Act presents a more democratic and compassionate attitude towards their plight. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act aims to help young illegal immigrants acquire higher education and US citizenship, thus improving the lives of many racialized populations currently denied basic rights.
Voicing her support for the DREAM Act, Angela Y. Davis reminds us that being an advocate of freedom means constantly fighting for it in all its forms – regardless of whether or not a call for a specific liberty directly enhances our own freedom.
This interview with Davis highlights how policies like the DREAM Act are part of an ongoing movement towards equality. Although the new legislation may predominately help Latino individuals, Davis calls upon black people to support its passing. As she notes in Abolition Democracy, “[o]ngoing movements at certain strategic moments need to mobilize and render visible everyone who is touched by the call for justice, equality, and peace.”
The road to universal freedom can only be shortened by everyone coming together to advocate for each others’ liberties. Moreover, because this path to freedom is continuous, with possibilities to push ahead manifesting at unpredictable times and places, it is a movement that we need to integrate into all of our encounters and practices.
Davis calls on youth especially to participate in this “radical movement,” advising them to “learn how to live one’s life as a life of struggle,…how to develop ways of asserting one’s imagination and creativity, and how to live one’s life in that way so [the struggle] becomes a thing of joy and not a thing of sacrifice.”
Young people have always held a special place in resistance movements—something Davis herself exemplified—and it is important not to forget the power they can exercise in building a better tomorrow.
Calling attention to the importance of coalition building in the fight for freedom, Davis encourages youth to devote their energy to this struggle by igniting their critical intellect and being alert to how they can shape the future through the smallest things—supporting a single Act, for example.
Defending our collective freedom against an onslaught of ominous political and economic forces is likewise an urgent task for young Canadians to take up in this era of ever-harshening social conditions and draconian policy measures.