Six activists discussed at Netroots what has occurred snce the last Netroots Nation in Vegas, and in particular action on Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal and the DREAM Act, offering legal status to children of undocumented residents.
"This panel is a case study in what happens when fiery activism trumps cynicism and forces Washington to act, as was the case with the push to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell and the DREAM Act in the very last days of last year's Congress. It's not often that these two issues are taken together, despite the common struggles both LGBTQ and immigrant communities face. However, the highly parallel, fierce fights over DADT and the DREAM Act last year--both key issues at last year's Netroots Nation--provide vital takeaways for the larger progressive movement."
The panelists included Jackie Mahendra, Yahaira Carillo, Heather Cronk, Felipe Matos, John Aravosis and Dan Choi. They spoke about how direct action changed the game in these two issues. The actions included activists chaining themselves to the White House fence to protest Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the DREAM activists walking across country, in some of the areas most conservative and hostile to immigrants, to call attention to the DREAM Act. Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal was passed, after it looked extremely doubtful for quite a long time, and the DREAM Act lost by 5 votes in the Senate, after having been given no chance of getting more than a handful of votes.
It was fascinating to hear people who were criticized so bitterly for seemingly working against "our own," but who helped shaped policies of which "our own" are now most proud.