By Camrin and Rebecca
Thursday was the day we had been preparing for -- Lobby Day. We woke up really early, got dressed in our nice outfits and took the metro to meet the American Immigration Lawyers Association members that would be lobbying with us. There were some introductory speakers and then we split up into our lobby groups to discuss with the lawyers how our meetings were going to go and how the Representatives voted in the past and when and where we were going to meet for our first meeting. Each group of MCS students was paired with a few lawyers and had about three meetings during the day. Some groups met with people who have supported the DREAM Act in the past, some with people who did not support the DREAM Act in the past, and some with people who were undecided so we really had to know our stuff and be able to tailor our speeches for different audiences. My group first met up with the lawyers after we met up with our small lobbying groups. Then we went to our first meeting and had lunch and had an hour between our next meetings and laid out by the pond and talked about The Hunger Games. Then we had our last two meetings, which were very successful.
Lobbying was a great experience for me. I felt extremely prepared and I knew that I understood the DREAM Act when I debated with a Republican on if the DREAM Act should be passed or not. We were able to make a range of important points about the DREAM Act, including the importance of everyone having access to an education and the economic benefits to the entire country if the DREAM Act was passed. The whole feeling of getting my point across as a kid and having government officials listen to me was overwhelming. It was great to be with professional lawyers who did this as a living and could provide other points and statistics that we did not have. It was also great learning something knew from the lawyers or Tom between each meeting letting me say something new to each person in the government.
After spending all day at the capitol lobbying for the DREAM Act, a topic I’m very passionate about, we were all very tired and hungry.Then, we went to Flannery's brother in law's BBQ restaurant, The Standard. We sat at a really long picnic table and they brought us all sorts of delicious snacks including french fries, onion rings, and fried pickles. We could choose between having hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and pulled pork sandwiches as well. We had a lot of fun being outside eating the delicious food and reflecting on our successful day.The food was great, the place was jumping and energetic and everybody was happy. I myself got a grilled cheese (being a vegetarian) and a cream soda, but everybody was merrily eating enjoying a good time with all of our friends.
After we had laughed the night away and gorged ourselves, we were given the two options. We could either go back to the hotel to change into much more comfortable clothes and then go to a park to get the rest of our energy out, or we could walk to the White House and back to see how it was lit up at night. As many of the people who know me quite well can tell you, I am a “political junkie.” I watch MSNBC every night religiously and I am a HUGE democrat. I see the White House constantly on TV, I hear about it in the news and I have seen many pictures of it. The one time I had been to the White House before the DC trip was before I was two, so I don’t remember it at all and when I was given the chance to see it I, I grabbed the chance.
A bunch of us started out on a trip we thought would be much shorter then it would turn out to be. Walking on feet that have been hurting all day is painful enough, but walking for a while with feet that have been hurting all day is 10 times more painful. The White House trip was so fun; I barely noticed my feet hurting. We passed old, beautiful buildings, garden and statues. We rode on each others backs and laughed the whole way there.
When we got there, it was a very emotional moment for me. I’m very proud of my country and of the leader of my country and to see the famous landmark standing there in front of me was a feeling of completeness. The house and garden around it is breath taking and we all were excited to be there. We took many pictures and yelled things to Obama that we knew he would love to hear if he could. The night was a late one, but the best by far. The experience was amazing and I felt so privileged to have been able to do it with my friends who are family to me.