Editor's note: Dolores Libertad (a pseudonym) is a 22-year-old, Indianapolis-based college student, who was born in Mexico and brought to Indiana seven years ago. She is currently on a liquids-only hunger strike, well into week three, in support of the DREAM Act. If passed, the DREAM Act would establish a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children of immigrants who have completed two years of college or military service.
As of Friday, Dec. 17, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) had announced the DREAM Act would see a vote in the Senate over the weekend. For more about the hunger strikers and for more about the DREAM Act, including updates, go here.
See below for information on how to contact your Indiana senators.
The last day of classes for the semester… it is exciting, yet I'm apprehensive.
Part of my body will finally will rest after the demanding last couple of weeks. But my stomach will not. It is barely noticeable; as one of my friends said, “the body is amazing, it is capable of adapting and surviving.” I don’t feel much hunger anymore; if I do, it takes only a drink of water or juice to feel satisfied.
Still, every so often, a prolonged growl rises from deep within.
Could it be as my mom says: "ya la grande se esta comiendo a la chica" — “the big is eating the small” — comparing my intestines to something like a big snake eating a small one? What sort of process is my body going through at this very moment? Could it be that, in order to survive, my body is gnawing at itself?
I’ve lost around 7 pounds in the last 2 weeks. My friends and family worry, but I think I’m o.k. I’m still in the normal range of weight for someone my height and frame.
Today’s final exam, my last for the semester, turned out to be rather easy (thank you Dr. W.), even though, mid-way through, it was really hard to physically keep going. (I’ll blame my exhaustion on studying and chatting with friends for a long while the night before — and, yes, a little on the strike.)
“Camilo” was kind enough to take me to a health clinic after my exam. Dr. S. said I was not dehydrated, nor did I have an excessive heart rate. I think he meant I was in pretty good shape for all the time I’ve spent without eating.
As I waited in one of those eggshell-white, depersonalized rooms, I thought about my earlier walk through the snow. As I tried to step in the paths other people’s shoes had left, I noticed familiar footprints… they were my own. It was curious to realize I had stepped right on that spot before.
I thought about how I step more comfortably, thanks to the literally back-hurting work my mother has done for the last seven years. She’s one of my inspirations and motivations — an “unknown” heroine. From her, I’ve learned to keep moving forward, no matter how hard things get, and to look at the bright side of things — there’s no point getting stuck in a rut.
She’s so strong, but she’s still just a human that can break, like an eggshell.
I’ll get the results of my blood test tomorrow or the day after, but I’m not worried. What keeps my mind and heart from resting is the status quo in the Senate and this prolonged wait. It’s the uncertainty of so many lives stuck in limbo. It’s been 10 years since the DREAM Act was first introduced to the 107th Congress, in 2001. DREAMERS today follow in the footsteps of those who have fought for equal opportunities in this “land of the free” where “all men are created equal” and all are “endowed with unalienable rights.” We follow in the steps of those pursuing happiness.
Contact Indiana Senators Bayh and Lugar to express your support or opposition to the bill:
Sen. Evan Bayh: 131 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510; phone, (202) 224-5623; fax, (202) 228-1377; www.bayh.senate.gov.
Sen. Richard Lugar: 306 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510-1401; phone, (202) 224-4814; fax, (202) 228-0360; www.lugar.senate.gov.