CA Dream Torch in the San Fernando Valley

“The Light the Torch Campaign” for the California Dream Act is still active, and has just recently arrived in the San Fernando Valley Dream Network. At the North Hollywood station, where the metro orange line station meets the metro red line station during rush hour (4:15- 6:00). The campaign was very significant for its creative way of addressing the need for the California Dream Act.

San Fernando Valley Dream Network (SFVDN) had incorporated street theater to display the Torch’s importance in this campaign. In addition, the SFVDN had performed a symbolic action, by freezing for a few minutes, to represent how undocumented students’ dreams are frozen, and put on hold.

“North Hollywood was a great place to do the symbolic freeze and street theater, because this is the arts district of San Fernando Valley”, Felipe Escobar, a steering member of the San Fernando Valley Dream Network asserted.

“This ‘Light the Torch Campaign’ took a new turn for activism. Unlike former events, the SFVDN had encompassed their event on street theater and symbolic freezes: forms of art-ivism. It was very critical to portray the struggle through art as it kept people entertained as they move to and fro with the bus lines” says Regemralph Corpuz, a steering member of the San Fernando Valley Dream Network.

The event began with drums beating, and student activists lined up chanting “What do we want? California Dream Act! When do we want it? Now!” repeatedly, as bus passengers arrive or left the North Hollywood Station. The event moved to the introduction of the CA Dream Network, the “Light the Torch Campaign”, and then the first session of the symbolic freeze.

Telemundo, and the Los Angeles times took a great deal of their time to cover the event.  The Street theater was performed by different students of the SFVDN. Francisco Arias (Valley College- DMU) played the role of the figure that represented “ignorance, hate, and prejudice”. Regemralph Corpuz (Pierce College- We BUILD) played the role of the main Dreamer who loses the torch to “ignorance, hate and prejudice”, along with other dreamers Pedro Trujillo (CSUN- Dreams to Be Heard), and Juanita de la Cruz (ELAC). It began with dreamers Pedro and Regem proceeding to light the torch, until Francisco (Ignorance, Prejudice, Hate) had taken it away from their hands. The Dreamer (Regem) loses hope to light the torch until the other dreamers supported him. The villain (Francisco) realizes, with the testimonies of the dreamers and their united stand, that he should not be deterring the Dreams and Hopes of undocumented students, but rather, help them to “find something to believe in”. The torch was then lit, followed by more marching, and a second session of the symbolic freeze. After the freeze, Regem Corpuz illustrated how being undocumented “should not be one’s identity, but rather a temporary status of a person. Being undocumented is temporary, and can change any moment. It’s a label the government gives to oppress and marginalize a certain group of people. And that’s why we are here today, to fight on behalf of these Dreamers, for equal access to higher education”

The event was concluded by steering members Regem Corpuz and Felipe Escobar, with a thought that even though the event in North Hollywood was done, the movement is not. The torch will soon arrive to the Santa Barbara Dream Network