March is not only Women’s History Month, but also National Coming out of the Shadows Month. The activities this month honor the sacrifices of millions of women and parents who have either sent their children ahead to the United States or uprooted their lives, determined to provide for their children and offer them more opportunity. Storytelling, media savvy and brave actions led by young undocumented people have broken through to the mainstream and influenced policy and conversation.
Now, in that space “DREAMers” created, there is great opportunity to push back on a narrative that has at times painted the noble sacrifice of parents as irresponsible.
Parents are speaking out, allies are speaking out and the narrative is changing. Take a look at stories and actions helping to shift the conversation:
Parenting bloggers Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa Endlich Heffernan, the voices behind Grown and Flown, recently called to our attention the short film Sin Pais, which airs on PBS Online Film Festival all this month. The story of separation captured by filmmaker Theo Rigby, brings home a compelling truth Harrington and Heffernan highlight: immigration is a parenting and family issue.
We Belong Together, an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Womens Forum is a campaign to mobilize women across the country to support humane immigration reform and to celebrate the tremendous contributions of women immigrants. The campaign is hosting a “Week of Action for Citizenship” in Washington, D.C. beginning on Sunday, March 17th and ending on Wednesday, March 20th with the participation of faith leaders, women’s organizations, immigrant rights groups, children, and families across the country.
National Coming Out of the Shadows month started in Chicago in 2010, when young people (mainly founders of the Immigrant Youth Justice League) first came out as “undocumented and unafraid.” For the past few years, undocumented young people, mostly DREAM-act eligible, have led and participated in coming out events. This year, the events are centered on coming out stories and calling for a stop to deportations, and parents and grandparents are stepping forward in addition to brothers, sisters, cousins and extended family members. The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) is a key partner this year and has a list of events nationwide.
United We Dream’s “11 Million Dreams” campaign, states they are “fighting for a path to citizenship and fair treatment for all 11 million Dreamers in the U.S.—immigrant youth and our families and communities.” This includes the idea that parents are the first Dreamers.