Sonic Trace: Does the ‘Dream 9’ have a strategy?

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Lizbeth Mateo and her mother.

Lizbeth Mateo (Photo: Eric Pearse Chavez)
Lizbeth Mateo (Photo: Eric Pearse Chavez)

Lizbeth Mateo is a 29-year-old Mexican citizen who was raised in Los Angeles. She is a college graduate and considers the United States her home – even though she doesn’t have papers and isn’t legally supposed to be in the U.S. It’s not an easy situation, but one which a young group of activists are trying to change. They call themselves “Dreamers” and have formed a group called the Dream 9.

Back in July, Mateo joined a protest at the border in Nogales, Arizona. She left the United States voluntarily and then asked to come back into the country. The idea was to make a statement — with cameras rolling — about why someone who has grown up in the U.S. shouldn’t be allowed back in to the place she considers home.

“The day that we crossed the border, we woke up really early, I think it was like four or five a.m.,” says Mateo, “We started calling our families and telling them, ‘we’re going to be crossing pretty soon.’ They realized I was in tears, and they said, ‘why are you crying? Are you scared, are you sad?’ And I said, ‘no I am not scared, I am really happy because I am coming home.'”

Listen to the story (and find more at Sonic Trace).

Protest at the Nogales border. (Photo: Eric Pearse Chavez)
Immigration reform protest at the San Diego-Tijuana border, July 28, 2013.  (Photo: Eric Pearse Chavez)
The central square in the Oaxacan town where Lizbeth Mateo was born.
The central square in the Oaxacan town where Lizbeth Mateo was born. (Photo: Courtesy Lizbeth Mateo)
Lizbeth Mateo and her mother back home in LA. (Photo: Eric Pearse Chavez)
Lizbeth and her brother visit their grandmother's grave in Oaxaca.
Lizbeth and her brother visit their grandmother’s grave in Oaxaca. (Photo: Courtesy Lizbeth Mateo)

This piece was produced for “To The Point” by Anayansi Diaz-Cortez, and edited by Ruxandra Guidi and Sonya Geis.