CA Dream Torch lit in the OC

The California Dream Torch is well on its way to Sacramento and the regional torch lightings are increasing in momentum. This past Friday the torch was lit in Orange County on April 22nd. Residents from Orange County and neighboring communities gathered to witness the second of 15 torch lightings that will be carried out throughout the state and ultimately reach Sacramento on Thursday, July 21st.

The Orange County Dream Network, one of the 15 local networks that make up the CA Dream Network who serves as a project of CHIRLA, worked diligently to organize and host their torch lighting. The 4 hour gathering took place from 4 pm to 8 pm in Pioneer Park, located in Anaheim, CA. This event allowed for some of the community colleges and universities within Orange County to collaborate on this project that serves to further unify the undocumented student movement in the state of California. Among those who attended were students from Fullerton College, Cypress College, Cal State Fullerton, and University of California Irvine. However, invitations were not limited to students, but instead extended to family members, friends, community leaders, other organizations, and residents all over the state.

 

As mentioned, the goal is to portray the urgency and need to pass the CA Dream Act. The CA Dream Act is currently composed of two assembly bills, AB 130 and AB 131. AB 130 aims to address the lack of financial aid for AB 540 students through private funding. AB 131 aims to address the same issue through the availability of Board of Governers (BOG) Fee Waiver, uncompetitive Cal Grants, and other forms of financial aid after they have been administered amongst non-AB 540 students. A key proponent in making the CA Dream Act a reality is the current California governor, Jerry Brown. Governor Brown vowed to sign the CA Dream Act, if it were to reach his desk, before and after assuming the position of governor in the most recent elections. The CA Dream Network has prepared an online petition, a paper petition, and a phone banking system that aims to urge Governor Brown to live up to his promise and take action to make the CA Dream Act a reality this year.

Attendees at the Orange County torch lighting signed petitions and were informed about the present updates concerning the CA Dream Act. Students also fundraised for scholarships through the sale of food, drinks, and crafts. The event atmosphere was filled with great vibes, as different members of the community and around the state socialized and made the best of one another’s company.

During the last hour of the event, those present gathered and formed a circle around what served as the stage for the speakers scheduled to share information and testimonies. Speakers shared their testimonies and words of encouragement as they addressed their listeners with the unlit torch in hand. Both undocumented students and supporters expressed the urgency of this proposed legislation. After sunset, everyone came closer and formed a much more condensed circle surrounding the torch as they prepared to light it. Chants filled the air as fire from the torch burned away. A strong presence of energy surrounded the attendees and it was ultimately a great event.

The CA Dream Torch is now ready to be lit in Coachella this Thursday, April 28. Iván Ceja, steering representative of the Orange County Dream Network expressed excitement, as he shipped off the torch this past Monday, April 25. “There is no doubt in my mind that the proceeding torch lightings will successfully embody the unity around the state and inspire students as we urge our governor to respond. San Diego and Orange County have definitely paved a great start to this grand project,” shared Iván Ceja.

Story by Ivan Ceja