Saturday, March 24, 2012

#JSA Gets Political: Letter from Jorge Steven Acuna Re: Today's Meeting With U.S. Senator Ben Cardin & MD Sen. Anthony Muse

UPDATE: Apparently, State Senator Anthony Muse stood up the #JSA students and was a no-show at their meet-and-greet today. Organizers indicate that Muse had confirmed attendance at the event. One student commented: "Didn't even have the courtesy to let anyone know he wasn't coming. I feel like it might be a good representation of what will happen if he is elected to the US Senate: he'll promise things and never show up to the immigrant community." OUCH!

BACKGROUND:Maryland Juice has been covering the inspiring story of the student activists involved in the #JSA movement. As apolitical MoCo youths, they "got political" after Homeland Security tried to deport one of their friends, Jorge Steven Acuna (aka JSA). JSA and his family were jailed and being readied for deportation after their application for asylum from Colombia was denied. The student activists called on Rep. Chris Van Hollen to intervene -- and in just a few days -- they amassed a 12,500 member Twitter following and several thousand petition signatures. Their efforts got the attention of Rep. Chris Van Hollen, and the Acuna family was promptly released and granted a one-year-stay on their deportation.

NEXT STEPS FOR #JSA: Yesterday we reported that today the #JSA students were hosting town hall style meet and greets between their members and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and State Senator Anthony Muse. Both men are vying for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate. When I asked for more information on their plans, organizers stated that students around the nation wanted to join their effort. #JSA now announces that high school and college chapters are in progress around the nation -- in places ranging from Virginia to Florida (ie: key swing states). They are now rebranding their efforts as Justice for Students in America and are an explicitly multiracial progressive movement.

After their foray into the U.S. Senate race, organizers tell Maryland Juice they are launching a voter registration drive and will move into the 6th Congressional District race next. They call CD6 the epicenter of their membership, due to the Jorge Steven Acuna case. In fact, the Acuna family appears to be among those households moved from CD8 to CD6. On a side note, we also hear the #JSA students have been in touch with MoCo's anti-curfew organizers to build synergy. Rock on!

Below we print a letter from the newly freed Jorge Steven Acuna. He discusses his detention and highlights how the #JSA activists are getting political:
"Some say tragedies are hard to get over, but sometimes that tragedy means it's over."

To a certain extent that is how it feels. You see, it all happened growing up, through my teenage years, I felt it coming, i felt the fear that one day the tragedy would arrive. The morning my father woke me up telling me it was over, i realized that my fear had finally come to an end. It's rather ironic to think that you grow up with a certain fear for years and years, and then one day, your biggest fear happens. So what happens? What did i truly feel? Nothing. Everyone that visited me came out of the jail inspired by my optimism, when those who visited saw me most would go into tears, and what would i try to manage? A smile. It's a sick thing what happened to me, i had to see some of the closest people in my life cry in front of my eyes, even harder thing was that i had to make sure I was strong. It turned out to be a huge injustice, and I say this not as someone who is an immigrant but rather as a human being.

But then, it happened, perhaps our lives are limited to few or none miracles, for me this was it. My miracle, and when it happened i was free. My story is not to target any feelings in your heart but rather to let everyone now that I do not plan on letting this miracle only be mine. It's crazy how my life has changed in the past two weeks, mostly because now i feel like i have a voice, and i don't feel that fear i grew for all those years.

Today JSA gives you the opportunity to meet our Maryland Senator, and a State Senator running against him. I urge you to come out and see it for yourself, because together we all have a voice, and together we can make a difference.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin &
 State Senator Anthony Muse
Saturday March 24, 2012 at 12:30 p. m. on the
Montgomery College Rockville Campusm TC room 136

Let's make our voice be heard so that no one ever lives through what i lived through. Furthermore, let's do this for those who suffer countless of other injustices, because we are all human, and we all have the right to be treated as some.


Jorge Steven Acuña

Maryland Juice will report back on the results of the U.S. Senate Primary candidate meetings, as well as on future plans for JSA soon!

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