Speaking Engagement on the Olympic Peninsula

Students speaking in Port Angeles

Students speaking at Peninsula College

Last week we headed to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula to do four paid speaking engagements, tour Peninsula College in Port Angeles, and visit high school students and community members in Forks.We met so many interesting people and we feel energized to begin work on several new project ideas. This trip taught us that we need to do more research to educate ourselves better about current immigration issues.

Our public speaking skills continue to improve and we’re looking forward to doing more trips of this kind in the future. If you know of a group, school, or community that would like to engage in a discussion about the themes discussed in our book and documentary, please let us know!

18498 97 96 95 94 92 91 9With Forks Students PenCollege President Maria & Jan 2

DreamFields Awards First Scholarship

Champions of Diversity

Rosa and Jacob Paz Perez and Ana Mendoza.
Rosa and Ana presented the scholarship to Jacob (Rosa’s older brother).

In November, we awarded a Mount Vernon migrant student with a $1500 college scholarship using a portion of the money we have earned from the sales of DreamFields. Two of us who worked on the book stood up in front of hundreds of people at MacIntyre Hall at Skagit Valley College and presented the Champions of Diversity scholarship on behalf of the Migrant Leaders Club to Jacob Paz Perez, a current senior at Mount Vernon High School. Jacob plans to attend Skagit Valley College next year and study criminal justice.

It was so exciting to see our project helping a member of our own community!

We hope to keep selling books and be able to give even more scholarship money through Champions of Diversity next year!

Thanks to everyone who has purchased a book for helping us achieve our dream of giving a scholarship. It feels pretty amazing to realize in our first years of high school that we can change the lives of migrant students right here in our community. We hope to do even more!

2012 in review

We just received our 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

 This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012.

Click here to see the complete report.

DreamFields Now for Sale Online!

We’re happy to report that DreamFields can now be purchased online! Simply click on the picture of our book below, or go to http://www.amazon.com and look for DreamFields in the book section. Today is a big day for us. We will now begin marketing the book as we’ve always wished we could. Please help us spread the word!


Click here to buy the book

Fall Update

After a summer of picking berries in the fields of Mount Vernon, we are now back at school and ready to pick up where we left off.

You might remember that, back in June, a small group of us attended a week-long video camp at Reel Grrls in Seattle. While there, we produced a short video titled “Field Dreamers”. (You can find it under “Internet Links” on the right side of this page.) Our collaboration with Reel Grrls is so cool and we want to do many more things with them this year. They like that idea too!

You might also remember that one of us took DreamFields to Washington DC in June and delivered copies of the book to several important politicians. We couldn’t believe it when we heard that she had successfully completed our most important goal – she delivered a copy of DreamFields to Obama’s staff where she received a promise that Obama would receive the book! We still can’t really believe it. Our stories are being read in the White House.

Meanwhile, back at home, our struggles continue, but so does our determination.

We sold our last copies of DreamFields at the end of June and so far we haven’t been able to print any more. This has been frustrating because the demand for the book has been growing. We have received requests for the book from as far away as Montreal and Kentucky, but we have been unable to fill orders. However, it looks like we have found a solution and we should have DreamFields available on Amazon by the end of this month. Stay tuned.

We have received several invitations for local speaking engagements this year. Since most of us are no longer at the middle schools with Ms. Blackmore, we are trying to create a Migrant Leaders Club at the high school so we can continue educating our community about our lives as migrant students. Once our club is up and running, we will let you know what our plans are for this year.

Thanks so much to all of you for your support of our book. We would love to hear from you!

For pictures from the Washington DC trip, see our Photo Gallery tab at the top of this page.

For a list of the decision-makers who received the book in Washington DC, see below:
President Barack Obama (via Cecelia Muñoz, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council)
Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security (via White House office)
Senator Maria Cantwell – Washington State (given directly to her)
Senator Patty Murray – Washington State (given directly to her)
Representative Luis Gutierrez – Illinois (via his aide)
Representative Rick Larsen – Washington State (given directly to him)
Representative Jim McDermott – Washington State (given directly to him)
Representative Catherine McMorris Rogers – Washington State (given directly to her)
Tyler Moran – Deputy Policy Director for Immigration, White House Domestic Policy Council
Scott Buckhout – White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Cynthia Martinez – Activist/Organizer, National Immigrant Youth Alliance
Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferst Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
Rev. Canon Anthony Guillen, Officer for Latino/Hispanic Ministries of the Episcopal Church
Katie Conway, Immigration and Refugee Policy Analyst for the Episcopal Church/Office of Government Relations

DreamFields Off to DC Today

Sea-Tac Airport en route to Washington DCIn front of Reel Grrls in Seattle.

Today we drove to Seattle to deliver five migrant girls to the Teen Video Camp at Reel Grrls, then we drove on to the airport to drop-off Rev. Jo Beecher and former migrant student Baudelina. They are off to deliver DreamFields to important decision-makers and attend the 2012 Dream Act Graduation. It was an exciting morning!

DreamFields Heads to the White House

Today we learned that a Mount Vernon migrant student (one of us!) will be flying to Washington DC this coming week to attend the National DREAM Act Graduation on Tuesday (if you’ve read the book, you’ve met Rosa – it’s her 19-year old sister). This yearly symbolic event is attended by Dreamers and their supporters from all over the country. Can you imagine how historical this year’s event will be after Obama’s recent announcement? It’s hard to believe that one of us will be there to witness it. Not only that, but she will be carrying DreamFields with her and presenting our book personally to Washington Congressmen and Senators (Cantwell, Murray, Larsen, McDermott). She will even be giving a copy of the book to an organization with direct access to President Obama!!! We’ve dreamed of putting our book in the hands of important decision-makers, and that dream is about to come true. Huge thanks to Rev. Jo Beecher who had the dream of attending this event, and then expanded her vision to include one of us and our book! Thank you also to members of the community who are helping to pay for the trip. See “Ways to Help” above if you would also like to help. Stay tuned here for pictures!

More information on Obama’s recent directive:


Obama’s Life-Changing Directive

What an exciting week! Obama’s announcement on Friday has changed everything for many of us. Imagine – a social security card! A real job! Walking around without fear of being taken by la migra! We celebrated with our families and then attended a local press conference on Monday where we talked about our excitement and also learned about the details of the application process that will begin in the next few months. In the picture above you will see Alma from the book, third from left. Several of us sat on stage and shared with the audience our emotions and dreams. Back in 2010, several of us attended a press conference in the same location as we mourned the fact that the Dream Act did not pass. At the 2010 press conference, we all wore bandanas over our faces to protect our identities and undocumented status (there’s a picture in the book). This week, there were no bandanas and we all proudly showed our faces as we sat behind signs that read, “Undocumented. Unafraid.”

This is a very exciting time for us!

Here’s the full newspaper article from the Skagit Valley Herald, Tuesday, 6/19/12:


Local undocumented students happy with Obama’s decision


MOUNT VERNON — One student wants to be a doctor, another a chef, and still another hopes to go to college. All say they’re relieved by President Obama’s decision last week to sign an executive order halting the deportations of young people like them.

A group of 13 students gathered Monday afternoon at a local church to talk about how the president’s decision and the Department of Homeland Security’s policy change toward the children of illegal immigrants could affect their futures.

“It’s going to change my life,” said student Maria Macedo of the policy change. Now, if she is approved and receives a work permit, she will help her parents and, she said, “… have the opportunity to complete my dreams.”

Macedo and the others openly told their stories Monday evening while smiling over two handwritten signs reading: Unafraid, Undocumented. Their openness was in stark contrast to a 2010 gathering when local students advocating for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act covered their faces with bandannas to conceal their identities.

The DREAM Act would allow people who grew up in the United States and graduated from high school to gain temporary residency and then possible permanent residency after six years.    Though the DREAM Act has stalled in Congress, President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced Friday that young people eligible for the provisions of the DREAM Act can currently receive relief from deportation on a caseby-case basis. The new mandate would not lead to citizenship, but participants could receive a work permit good for two years, subject to renewal.

“I couldn’t really believe it,” said student Marceina Mendoza about hearing the news. “… I just feel so much relief.”

This new mandate calls for young people to satisfy certain requirements for relief from deportation and approval for a work permit. Participants must have come to the U.S. before the age of 16 and be 30 or younger, have lived in the United States since at least June 15, 2007, and be currently enrolled in school, have graduated, earned a GED or been honorably discharged from the military.

A clean record also is a must. The mandate will allow Homeland Security to focus resources on higher priority cases, including illegal immigrants with felonies, according to a memo from Homeland Security.

The mandate is a step in the right direction, said Carol Edward, an immigration attorney associated with the Washington State Chapter of American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“It doesn’t help students very much if they don’t have a way to work and support themselves,” she told the crowd Monday.

But under the happiness and relief lingers uncertainty, and some fear that this opportunity could be taken away.

“Now (Obama’s) saying specifically that the dreamers are not going to be deported, but how it’s going to play out is not clear,” said the Rev. Jo Beecher of the Skagit Immigrant Rights Council that sponsored Monday’s gathering along with several other immigrant advocates.

Though there are certain guidelines, the procedures will not be known until August, she said. Information from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services advises people not to apply yet, as the process is not yet ready.

The mandate is not a change in law, so there’s the risk that the order could be rescinded by another administration, and also the chance that undocumented students seeking deportation relief could be hurt by unscrupulous or incompetent people offering help, Beecher said.

The Skagit Immigrant Rights Council and its allies are planning workshops and meetings to help answer questions and assist people through the process.

“It’s really the kids,” Beecher said. “They’re willing to take the risks and be out there and say, this is the right thing.”

Erinn Unger can be reached at 360-416-2141 or eunger@skagitpub lishing.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/schools_svh.

DreamFields for your Kindle or iPad

Please contact us if you would like to purchase DreamFields for your Kindle or iPad – only $10. jblackmore@mv.k12.wa.us


New Pictures in Photo Gallery

Check out what we’ve been up to by looking at our new pictures in the photo gallery!