Tereza Lee

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Tereza Lee via Facebook

Template:TOCnestleft Tereza Lee is an illegal immigration activist who reportedly inspired Dick Durbin's original Dream Act legislation from 2001. While the original DREAM Act and many variations of it could not pass even with Democrat majorities in the house and the senate, President Barack Obama created an Executive Order in 2012 that allowed "temporary relief from deportation proceedings" for young people who met certain criteria. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.[1]

Meeting with Rise and Resist

Rise and Resist Meeting with guest Original Dreamer Tereza Lee

Rise and Resist held a meeting with guest "Original Dreamer" Tereza Lee in March 2018.[2]

Tereza Lee at Chuck Schumer's Office

Tereza Lee at Chuck Schumer's Office December 22 2017

Tereza Lee organized a series of "sit in's" at Senator Chuck Schumer's office to push the Senator for DACA Amnesty in December 2017 - January 2018. An article posted at Yahoo News by Caitlin Dickson dated January 17 2018[3] describes Tereza Lee's role:

"Armed with a bullhorn and a white plastic garbage bag filled with homemade posters, Lee was the first to arrive outside Schumer’s New York office Wednesday. As police officers lined the sidewalk with barricades, she reflected on how immigration advocacy has evolved since she first got involved in the cause.
“I’ve been fighting for this for 16 years,” said Lee, whose own experience of growing up undocumented in Chicago inspired the original version of the Development, Relief, Education for Alien Minors Act introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in 2001.

Several protests promoting DACA at Chuck Schumer's office was posted at Tereza Lee's Facebook page.[4] Other members of the group for a protest dated in December were Osman Canales, Violeta Gomez-Uribe, Monica Sibri, Wendy Feinstein, Lisa Platt-Rudley, Vicky Barrios, Elijah Stevens, Hector Jairo Martinez, Peter S. Lee and Hannah Holland.

Shaun King supports Tereza Lee on Facebook December 2017

The December 5th event was promoted by Shaun King on Facebook:[5]

"Tereza Lee, the 'Original Dreamer' is risking arrest right now along other allies at Senator Schumer’s office in N.Y.C.! Tereza inspired the very first DREAM Act bill written in 2001 and has been fighting for it since then. It's time for Schumer to pledge that he will do everything in his power to pass DREAM in the Omnibus Spending Bill."

DACA Activists at Peoples Summit June 2017

DACA Activists at The People's Summit 2017 June 2017 (From left to right: Belen Sisa, Tania Unzueta, Erika Andiola, Basi Lisa, Tereza Lee)

Tereza Lee was a part of a group that advocated for DACA at The People's Summit 2017.[6]

Dick Durbin Speaks on House Floor for the Dream Act

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) advocates for DACA using Tereza Lee and her family on the Senate Floor

Dick Durbin used Tereza Lee's story as a pianist to push for the DREAM Act on the Senate floor. Advocates for illegal immigration legislation will continue to pressure Congress to pass amnesty legislation, as evidenced by this quote at Splinter News:

"The DREAM Act was reintroduced in 2011, again in 2013 as part of a larger Senate bill, and then this year. And over the years, the public has become very distrusting. But the movement that has come out of this in the last 16 years is the number one most important part of all this. We also saw organizations coming out in support of undocumented immigrants for the first time.[7]

KRCC 17th Anniversary Benefit Dinner: We Walk One Path United

On October 12th, 2012 the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC) (Now the HANA Center) hosted its 17th Anniversary dinner.[8]

Standing Up for Justice Awardees

  • Tereza Lee, the "courageous young woman who inspired the DREAM Act;"
  • KA VOICE, "community leaders mobilizing the community for increased civic participation and more representation in public office"
  • Hasang Pungmul School, "which helps maintain pride in Korean culture by teaching traditional PoongMul"

In addition, KRCC presented "Dream in Action Awards" to Ashley Murtas and Jessica Uruchima.

Social Justice Camp

Tereza Lee was a featured guest at NAKASEC's "Social Justice Camp" in July 2012, a "10 day hands-on training for young Korean American and Asian Americans passionate about immigration issues to develop organizing skills, learn from each other and become part of efforts to educate and mobilize the community in support of the Maryland Dream Act."[9]

KRCC’s (Now the HANA Center) youth organizing council, FYSH organized a presentation on the Deferred Action announcement on July 25. About 40 members from FYSH, Korean media, and community attended the event. During the presentation, Tereza Lee, a talented concert pianist, who at age 12, found out that she was an undocumented immigrant, spoke about her family’s immigration stories, including the postwar hardships and the fear of being found out by others about their undocumented immigration status. Tereza contacted Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to ask for help, and shortly afterwards, he began collaborating with other legislators to draft and propose what became known as the DREAM Act. Tereza stressed the importance of sharing stories and becoming active in the immigrant rights movement for meaningful immigration reform. After she spoke, KRCC awarded the DREAM Scholarship Awards. DREAMers both at KRCC and across the nation have continued to push for the bill in the following 11 years."

References

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