On October 17, 2014, the Center for Race Gender, the Multicultural Resource Center, and the Center for Latino Policy Research celebrated the launch of the student-produced multimedia anthology, It Was All A Dream: Writings by Undocumented Youth at UC Berkeley. The culmination of a long-term research and arts project, the anthology includes essays, poetry, visualart, and findings from a research report on the campus climate for undocumented students. We convened student authors for a reading of their work and curated a gallery exhibit of visual art published in the anthology. Below is an excerpt from the preface, written by graduate student, Marco Flores (Ethnic Studies), a lead organizer of the project and the anthology.
Excerpt from the preface of It Was All A Dream: Writings by Undocumented Youth at UC Berkeley
By Marco Flores, Ethnic Studies, editor
The dream goes beyond undocumented students. Who is left out of this undocumented student narrative? Who are the unwanted? Who are those labeled as the undeserving pests to American society? The “dream” goes beyond ourselves. We seek justice for our parents who have worked under cruel conditions, our familias, those that are send back to their “home country” without a single recollection of it, those that remain missing at the border or overseas, all those who are seen as a “burden” to this country. We are all witness to America’s imagination of Gringolandia, we are all victims of the well sold “American Dream.”
Hence the title, “It Was All a Dream” — a reference to the opening line in The Notorious B.I.G.’s classic 1994 hip-hop record, “Juicy,” a song that resonated with many of us. It was all a dream — a testament to our ongoing haters that we learned to hustle despite great odds, to conjure a future despite the haze of racist contempt, to embrace our rebelliousness.
We have dared to sense dreams beyond the simple use of rhetoric. We’ve learned to create meaning through our vivid imagination because, at times of despair, our dreams gave us purpose. We dared to see a dream beyond the well-constructed and sanitized narrative of undocumented students pursuing an education. And in a more profound sense, we dare to dream beyond the white man’s fictitious story of the ‘American Dream.”
Since the start, dreams have been our daily dose of medicine. Dreams have given us hope during moments of fear. They have been a profound awakening within ourselves, a body felt knowing that has arrived to us during late night writings and while we sleep. They have served as reminders to make sense of this unjust country. They taught us that there is always a way to hold each other even when we are most afraid of telling. Because, as Audre Lorde beautifully puts it, “The white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us — the poet — whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free.” I am a firm believer of words and their magic. I am a firm believer of the dreams that sparked images and words in this collection. Our stories will set us free.
Always Califas dreamin’, somos corazón.