By Roxana ORellana, The Salt Lake Tribune
Aoril 27, 2012
Their lengthy walk to the nation’s capital started March 10 in San Francisco on the Golden Gate Bridge. A little over two weeks later, the group of six walkers for the Campaign for an American Dream, has found itself stuck in Salt Lake City.
“We were in Battle Mountain Nevada when our 1985 RV broke down,” said walker Raymi Gutierrez, a 23-year-old Utah native. “Instead of leaving it, we decided to get it towed here and try to sell it.”
The walkers had used the RV as a support vehicle to carry supplies and to sleep in.
Until they sell it and buy another RV, the walkers will share their message of support for the Dream Act and immigration reform to Utahns. The act would give children brought here by undocumented immigrant parents a chance at naturalization if they attended college or joined the military.
The walkers are schedule to speak at the University of Utah student union building at 5 p.m. Saturday about their nearly 3,000-mile trek to Washington D.C., which they plan to reach by Election Day.
Gutierrez is the only citizen among the walkers. She said she joined the walk because half of her family is undocumented and because she has seen their struggle.
“Two of my siblings are dreamers. When the Dream Act didn’t pass in 2010, I lost a lot of hope in their future,” Gutierrez said. “I didn’t think it was right because they are hard-working individuals, yet they don’t have the same opportunities as me. So I got involved because of them.”
Gutierrez said the walkers are putting a face on the issue by showing who they are to all the communities they pass through and explaining why the Dream Act would benefit this country.
Lucas Da Silva came to the United States when he was 1. It was not until he was 15 that he found out he did not have the papers he needed to get his driving license. Three years ago, his father was deported back to Brazil.
“My family lost a lot of hope during that period. … Knowing that it’s happening across the country to other kids everyday,” Da Silva said. “That’s why I decided to join this walk to stop that.”
As for the Dream Act, Da Silva said he remembers talking to his high school counselor and being told that he really had no hope because he didn’t have papers.
“The U.S. has invested in our education from K through 12 and given us all this knowledge, only to take it away later,” Da Silva said.
While in Utah, the group will seek donations and sell the old RV so they can buy one that will last for the next six months. They take turns walking and driving. At each community, they seek people willing to host them or they find a spot to park.