09 February 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Documented Dreams

This is something like the project I am working on but it includes stories via letters rather than pointed questions and answers about life as an undocumented student in America.However, it is an important first step and I hope more academics and people who have the resources to research and publish give space to the unheard voices of Dreamers.

Phoenix, Arizona
February 6, 2008

A compelling account of the struggle that students without legal status in
the U.S. are facing has taken the form of a bilingual book. Under the title of
Documented Dreams, the Arizona-based Hispanic Institute of Social Issues
(HISI) has published a collection of letters written by students from
Gateway Early College High School, and compiled by the school’s principal —
and 2008 ‘Living the Dream’ award recipient— Yvonne Watterson.

The letters were written in response to the anonymous and generous
donations by people from the community, who made financial contributions
to help students unable to qualify for in-state tuition continue taking college
classes. The group of High School students then decided to write thank you
letters to show their appreciation.

Watterson revealed that after reading the letters from students, “a book
seemed the obvious way to capture forever their collective thanks. The
students wanted to thank the strangers who were making their continued
college education a reality. They could only convey their gratitude
anonymously, from the shadows.”

The idea for a book emerged simultaneously with the defeat in the U.S.
Senate of the Dream Act last Fall. Millions of students were hoping to
regularize their status and be able to continue with their education.

“Mrs. Watterson contacted us, we read the letters, and immediately jumped
into giving form to the book project”, stated Eduardo Barraza, HISI’s
director. “We recognize that we are living in a historical turning point;
publishing the students’ letters is an attempt to ensure we accurately
record history as it happens before our eyes, and in the voice of its
protagonists: the students themselves.”

Documented Dreams is a book of enormous human value, mainly because it
symbolizes the aspirations of millions of students caught in a sociopolitical
midpoint. The book will further contribute to the efforts of keeping students
taking college classes at this early college program, as it will be used as a
tuition fund-raising tool.

For further information visit www.hisi.org/books.html or call 480 – 983–
1445.

Book Details: Documented Dreams • Edited and compiled by Yvonne
Watterson • Photographs by Eduardo Barraza • ISBN: 978-0-9797814-3-8
• Paperback • Language: Bilingual in English and Spanish. $25.00 Minimum
Donation

Published by the Hispanic Institute of Social Issues © 2008

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