Senator Dick Durbin Visits Pilsen
by Alex Morales
Published: April 27, 2009
On Saturday April 27, Senator Dick Durbin visited Pilsen to learn more about the local issues and how the community is working together to improve its quality of life. Community Leaders from Resurrection Project, Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, and Alivio Medical Center, along with students from Benito Juarez Community Academy, effectively presented their concerns to the Senator on issues such as education, safety, affordable housing and immigration. Local concerns were voiced as well as local successes evidenced in the work done in Pilsen through the Pilsen Planning Committee and thanks to the support of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’sNew Communities Program, who arranged the Senator’s visit to our community.
Later that day Senator Durbin joined Alderman Solis and the Pilsen Community for the Dia De Los Niños Parade.
The Senator met with Benito Juarez Community Academy students and received first hand accounts of the difficulties they would face once they try to get into their college of choice. These students praised Senator Durbin’s efforts in supporting the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, better known as the “DREAM Act”, a proposed federal legislation seeks to provide certain immigrant students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, had arrived in the US as children, and have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency.
Unfortunately, the DREAM act has not been adopted into law just yet but will make it easier for undocumented students to pursue an education and to become citizens. However, bright young high school students currently seeking post secondary studies are facing the limitations when it comes to the affordability of college and the lack of financial aid available due to their legal status.
Overall the Senator was impressed with our work on issues such as affordable housing, education and community organizing. He congratulated our efforts on saving homes from foreclosure, encouraging us to promote and take advantage of the President’s Neighborhood Stabilization Plan. Our community is very proud of our successes and will continue to work in tandem with our elected officials, influencing their decisions for the common good.