I didn’t get a chance to update before I left last week, but just in case anyone missed me, I was gone for the Tour De DREAMS bike ride.
I didn’t do the whole 511 miles; I joined the riders in Santa Cruz because I came back from Pittsburgh and felt sick. When I recovered, I couldn’t find a way to meet up with the riders. I called Amtrak for transportation and they said the only way I could bring my bike on the train was by dismantling and boxing it up. I said ‘Uh…no.’ So I took BART from Pittsburgh to Millbrae, transferred to Caltrain all the way to San Jose and then took an Amtrak Bus connection to Santa Cruz. And I found the riders eventually, who had actually gotten lost.
I knew there was drama on the ride, I just didn’t know the extent of it till I met up with everyone. Now I detest getting into these situations — I have had enough drama in my life and don’t need the entertainment. The good thing about new media work is that if someone is giving me a hard time, they are simply removed from my sphere of communication. And we know that assertive WOC are given the toughest time. Obviously, I won’t say anything about anything that happened here. I am just glad that everyone made it all the way up to Berkeley and to their homes, safe and sound. And that we were still able to have a blast!
These kind of events require a lot of planning, organizing and resources, not to mention funding. It’s an incredible feat that DREAM Act students were able to pull off, once again, without much institutional support. And everyone is already very excited about next year.
A big thank you is in order to everyone who supported me during this endeavor and even those who didn’t want me to do this bike ride. Maybe I’ll see you on the road next time.
So as per instructions, I emailed the Chief of BART Police and the appropriate officers with my complaint. All I got was an apology:
Dear Mr./Ms. Lal:
I regret the loss of your bicycle seatpost. One would assume that a bike would be safe and secure in front of the agent’s booth. But, unfortunately, when the booth is left unstaffed, that presents an opportunity for a thief and other wrong-doers.
Chief of Police
Pssst, it probably happened on their watch. The replacement for the three parts comes up to around $80-$100.
Yesterday, I went janitorial with my mom so she has promised to fork over some spare cash for it. Still, when is BART going to take responsibility for thefts that happen on their watch?!
No graphic and grotesque images here for the time-being but long story short, I split my pinky toe yet again. I do have pictures if anyone wants to see it.
Sure it is a small stub, but it is the part of the foot that goes in the clippers when one rides a racing bike.
Needless to say, I am in pain and distraught.
I also couldn’t go to the hospital or doctor because my health insurance is quite useless. We pay $600 per month to Blue Cross, but Blue Cross only pays $50 for a $435 visit to the doctor. And I also canceled my emergency accidental health insurance last month because I could no longer afford it. Yes, it was only $18 per month, but I can’t afford that.
Bottomline: I am not a leech on public health services.
The bike ride is from August 13 to August 22. It is to raise funds for immigrant students in California colleges and universities and bring awareness to the DREAM Act. I promised Tam Tran that I will do this with her and I am not backing out. That gives me less than 1.5 months to recover and train. This is not a gimmick.
This past year I got into all law schools of my choice. But I couldn’t afford to go.
I couldn’t take out student loans since my house is going through foreclosure and our credit is bad.
I couldn’t get any federal or state financial aid since I am undocumented.
I decided to delay law school for another year, to delay our dreams. This dream has been delayed since I was 16 and decided to be a public interest attorney.
Now, as I find myself suddenly fatherless, this dream seems more elusive than ever.
It’s not empty fundraising. I will be doing a 9-day, 511 mile bike ride in the summer heat from UCLA to UC Berkeley. It’s a distance that I have never covered and given that my body has adverse reaction to prolonged exposure to sunlight, it is certainly going to be a challenge.
Hosted by RISE-UCB, Tam and I will try and cover this event daily on DreamActivist.org, including daily video uploads and write-ups. I will twitter! We will do a kickass job of bringing the event to you, I promise.
I will survive and hopefully we raise something so I can afford to go back to college next August.