Dream Riders Blog: August 6, 2013 – Houston, Texas
This morning, I was yet again the last person in the room to wake up. Kevin stood beside my sofa bed already fully dressed in his blue dress shirt. I suddenly remembered that he had a 5:30 a.m. radio conference call that day. Although I wasn’t around to hear him speak, I have no doubt that he represented the Dream Riders well.
As I dressed for the day, it felt bittersweet; I miss everyone back home, but I loved being with the other Dream Riders. I would make this last day count.
Unfortunately, the day began with an early farewell to Ga Young shi. =/ She’s on her way to Philadelphia to present her master’s thesis. And, I know she will blow them away!
Our first event was a legislative visit at the office of Representative Pete Olsen. As usual, Jenny was a great point person! Sae Hee, Anna, Allen, and Kevin shared their stories for one of the last times on the road trip. For this visit, we were joined by Francis and Jimmy, both district constituents who were more than willing to express their views on immigration reform. The visit went very well. Everyone did their part as planned.
Since we all skipped breakfast, we decided to spend our last meal together as Dream Riders at this buffet called, “Cici’s Pizza.” Here, I finally tried the famous Sweet Tea that we had heard so much about. It was good. =) Jimmy ate with us and proved that “Southern Love” resides even in Houston. Even though we had just met him yesterday, we grabbed a bite together as close allies.
Our last event for the road trip was a press event. Hosted at the Korean American Association of Houston, we were warmly greeted by reporters who listened intently to the immigration stories of myself, Simon, and Kevin. Most of the event was in Korean. I wish I spoke Korean. During the entire conversation I appreciated how pleasant-sounding Korean is. It’s kinda soothing. o_O What I did know we discussed was how the Korean American community in Houston can get involved, network and continue talking to legislators about immigration reform. Pretty good way to end our trip.
We were off to the airport. It started to become real; the fact that the road trip was ending. We had to clean out our rented home for seven days, our SUV, before it was returned. So many jokes, conference preparation, and stories were shared in that vehicle. It was sad to leave it behind.
At the airport, it was time to go our separate ways. Allen, Sae Hee, and I had to board a different shuttle bus from the L.A. folks. We were able to take one last picture together, and then say our farewells. It wasn’t too bad, though. We know we’ll meet again.
This Dream Riders road trip was truly a life-changing experience. I would not trade the stories I’ve heard, the people I’ve met, or the laughs we shared for anything in the world. I am thankful that no one got sick or hurt, and I believe we all grew – both as individuals and as a team. It was the highlight of my summer, and I hope that our efforts inspired others to share their own stories as well and support comprehensive immigration reform. Though the road trip is over, we will all continue fighting for our families, for a pathway to citizenship, and for an inclusive immigration reform.
I am so very honored to have been a Dream Rider.
-Brandon Licuanan, KRCC and FYSH member