We arrived in Houston late in the afternoon after a long drive from New Orleans. In the car, we prepared for our last community meeting presentation. It was a community meeting and dinner with OCA-Greater Houston and BPSOS-Houston. More than 70 people came.
Kevin opened and introduced the Dream Riders and the campaign. A few of the Dream Riders shared their stories. I incorporated spoken word and call-and-response into my story. I felt incredibly good about the participation from the community members. After our presentations, we held an open dialogue with the community members. I even met a rapper, Rocko Steady, who was a finalist for Kollaboration Houston. I will be performing at Kollaboration Chicago.
The Dream Riders spent many hours in the van, traveling from state to state for eight days, and we had finally reached our last state, Texas. After everything that has happened, I had mixed emotions. During these eight days, I’ve come across warm and passionate individuals with incredible stories and had a chance to get to know them personally. These community members have become family to me and ending this trip tomorrow will be difficult. But I have also become increasingly homesick. I crave pho. Talking about my sister has left thinking more and more about home and my own community.
Being with the Dream Riders for 8 days straight has taken me off my regular routine. Going back home to Chicago and re-adjusting will take time. This trip has meant a lot to me and I fear that the memories of our road trip will fade. I miss my Chicago home, but I don’t want to lose all that I have gained in the past 8 days. It is certainly bittersweet.
We are all going back to our homes tomorrow, but I intend to continue fighting; using all that I have learned from this road trip. I have learned more about talking to people and sharing my story of self. The dinner tonight with BPSOS Houston and OCA-Greater Houston has motivated me to collaborate with other activists and groups. I am thinking of collaborating with Rocko Steady and write tracks about immigration reform and social justice. I will follow up with OCA-Greater Houston and their youth group to share my story and help them in any way I can. And I will keep sharing everywhere I go. The Dream Riders: Road Trip Across America has been the highlight of my summer and when I go back to Chicago, I won’t stop organizing.