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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

‘Waking Dream’ screening brings awareness to DACA recipients

Dilan Pedraza speaks to students in the CCLC about his experience filming in documentary “Waking Dream”. Photo credit: Rayanne Painter

Navigating through school, society and careers is challenging enough without extra factors. Many undocumented young adults in Chico and throughout the country are required to take additional, and often tedious, steps in order just to acquire the right to work and live safely in this country.

Leaders Educating for the Advancement of Dreamers and the Chico State Dream Center have spent the week educating DACA applicants, undocumented students and community-wide allies about their rights and resources; bringing awareness of the program through a project called Undocuweek. The week ended with a screening of the documentary “Waking Dream” on Thursday in the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center.

The film highlighted six stories of undocumented young people and their journeys of possible deportation or citizenship. As DACA was rescinded in 2017 by the Trump Administration, these young people’s lives were thrown into limbo as they dealt with ever-changing legal statuses in the United States, the deportation of family and friends and a constant push to pursue their goals in a country that is battling them every day.

One timeline, in particular, followed the story of Chico State Alumnus and founding committee member of the Dream Center, Dilan Pedraza. Pedraza is undocumented and a DACA participant. He was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was two months old. As an adult, he now works at a middle school in Richmond, California, and is preparing to go to law school.

Pedraza stopped by after the movie screening to speak on his experience while being filmed and to take questions about being an undocumented student. He had an overall positive experience while shooting the documentary, but had wondered why the director had only chosen to feature the above-and-beyond DACA participants.

“I did call out the fact that the superstar Dreamers were the only ones being shown, but he actually shed some light on that,” Pedraza said. “It’s easier for us to come on screen like that because when you think about the people that are the most oppressed, that don’t have the education, don’t have the resources, don’t have the connections, it’s easier to be targeted.”

According to Pedraza, two people dropped out of filming who were not “superstar” Dreamers because they were scared of being in the limelight while the DACA program went through rocky waters.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.

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