It wasn't a fancy ceremony, by any means, held under a portable canopy with the threat of rain looming overhead. After several speakers, including a MNPS teacher whose name I didn't catch, said what shouldn't need saying — namely, that these kids are just that, and shouldn't be needlessly punished and disenfranchised because of their parents' actions — those in attendance collected food donations into boxes, gave brief statements of thanks, and loaded up the food to be taken to the East Nashville Cooperative Ministry.
As Pith's Betsy Phillips put it earlier today, "The DREAM Act is not a cure-all, by any means, but it does clean up one part of the mess — it gives people who have only known this country as their country a means to make that official." And for this group of "dreamers," as they were referred to again and again, this was a chance to show their gratitude for their hometown, even as a young man drove by shouting "Happy Thanksgiving!" out his car window with a mocking, exaggerated glee.
Stephen Fotopolous, Kasar Abdulla and David Morales of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) were among those on hand to lend their support. As I was leaving, two young students walked across the damp grass toward a television news camera, eager to tell their stories.