Race and the Digital: Racial Formation and 21st Century Technologies

Out of The Closets, Out of the Shadows, and Into the Streets: Pathways to Participation in DREAM Activist Networks Blog Presentation by Addie Vielmas





NATHAN MANSKE: Founder of I'm From Driftwood- archive of LGBTQ stories.


The article summarized what the video is about, Carlos and undocumented queer. It's written for The Huffington Post and tagged with: Gay, Immigration, Latinos & Hispanics, DREAM Act, Coming Out. It also allows you to follow Queer Voices through Facebook, Twitter, or by receiving a newsletter.


The video focuses on Carlos Padilla, a man with many intersectionalities: person of color, undocumented, and queer. This video shares his story, the obstacles he faced when he came out to his teacher as undocumented and when he came out to his mother as identifying as queer. These are two different oppressions, but ultimately intersect and connect. Carlos came out to his teacher when he was supposed to apply for colleges and scholarships, however he was unable to because he didn't have a social security. Carlos then came out to his mother when she wanted him to go back to Mexico, however he didn't want to because their is much more oppression there unlike here in the United States, where people are able to stand up. But the important thing here is that Carlos stated that his intersectionality is "instrumental to what he fights for in the future so no one experiences these oppression".


Costanza-Chock, Sasha. Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets! Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement. 

Transmedia Organizing: cross platform, participatory media-making for social media ends
Pathways to Participation: path people identify with that leads to social movements participation over their lives (people become activists based on their family, friends, community, movements. Also by media making)
Public Narrative: story about social movement that is for the public and leads to allies, sympathizers, and a shared identity.

The article opens with DREAM activism, how the movement was led by youth, the undocumented, and people of color through compelling strategies that develop leaders. DREAMers are a powerful organizing group that encompasses many and aids different movements, such as LGBTQ, labor, etc. This was all able to be accomplished because of transmedia organizing and pathway to participation.

DREAM Activists Make Media and Make Trouble:
This section focused on the struggles for education immigrants faced and what they achieved.Struggles were the inability to pursue a higher education and the Dream Act was a win for the students.

DREAM Act Debates:
This section focuses on the division between immigrants who earn a higher education and those who are workers. Achieving or the pathway to citizenship is different for each group. For example, students after earning a degree, but workers may be able to earn residence by joining the military. This is considered a military recruitment for American because there are more youth who are eligible for the military then pursuing an education.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, prevents the deportation, of those with "DACA" status, for up to 2 years, they are able to work and go to school. It was implemented by Obama, but achieved through lobbying and direct actions, this shows that DREAMers are effective organizers.

Undocuqueer Leadership:
Most of the immigrant youth leaders identify as queer. But as undocuqueer, they take longer to gain legal status and challenge oppressive norms that are internalized by their communities. The undocuqueer organized a movement where people "came out" as undocumented on their Facebook page.

DREAM Activists and Transmedia Organizing:
Through transmedia organizing, the DREAMers influenced media participation, and caused the awareness they created to lead to action. They did so by utilizing both "old media" and social media. For example, when DREAMers did presentations, they used social media to attract the youth by creating a blog, Underground Undergrads, that spoke on the legislative process, organizing across campus, and immigration issues. This blog contained stories, Youtube videos, and issues that generated conversation. This blog was important because as the book was presented, Underground Undergrads was used to keep in touch with students who were learning and becoming aware of this immigration injustices. Youths adopted the digital to the immigration reform. Another way they did so was by using Julio Salgado's artwork, especially the series of illustrations that focuses on the undocuqueer who face deportation. His artwork was linked to online petitions for the unoduqueer and campaigns that would help free the DREAMers.

Pathways to Participation:
There are many researchers who believe participation stems from different reasons, for example biology, life history, resistance identities. However, the most common is the biographical/ life course. Many DREAM Activists became involved with the movement through friends, family, community, life experiences. They also joined the movement by being involved with a different movement or even after joined a different one.

Learning from Other Movements:
Student organizers learned digital media practices from migrant worker organizations.

Mediated Pathways: Make Media, Make Trouble:
Many people became involved with the immigrant movement because of media: social media or media making. People viewed, shared, media and thus led to digital media literacy. Familiarity with new media also spurred political involvement.

Made In L.A
A documentary about garment worker organizing and ultimately led to to the connections formed between people and organizations that were featured. This important documentary that focused on key issues was distributed around the world.

Who Controls the Story? Public Narrative, Messaging, and Framing:
For DREAMers, public image is important and therefore shape their narratives, struggle to control frame, and work to shift public opinion; this is done through face to face organizing and strategic media plans. Through a long process that consisted of many phases, DREAMers wanted to shift immigrants into a positive light through story telling. As the first step, DREAMers worked towards a good shared identity that counters dehumanization, then there was the step of self identifying and no longer hiding. And the final step was to make their presence be heard. Storytelling is important because it gives a face to the movement.

The chapter focuses on the way DREAMers used transmedia organizing and their paths to participation to achieve success in the immigration reform. Without these methods,  people would not have been able to shape their narratives or generate awareness or a space for conversations that allows a place for those who are oppressed to feel safe.


Social media played an important role in aiding the immigrant movement, without this aspect, the movement would have been a failure. I say this because through social media, DREAMers were able to shape their identity and spread their message. Through social media, people were able to start having conversations about important things such as immigration. That's why, it's no surprise that around the time of presidential campaigns, activists use all the broadcasting to their advantage. With all the cameras rolling, it's hard not to focus and talk about issues such as immigration reform when it's such an important topic that affects many in the United States. I also think it's important to note how through social media, DREAMers are able to easily share their message. Through sharing, liking, and commenting people are able to connect with different people on issues they feel strongly about. Like it said in the chapter, connectivity is important to engage the youth, those who are able to push the movement and help it grow. From personal experience and that of other's, it allows me to appreciate the way media has impacted social movements. Without it, contemporary movements would not be as successful in getting stuff without the aid of the web. Also, the web allows people who have no voice to have a safe place to generate conversations and share important issues that concern them. Like Arturo's blog on Digital Activism, which focused on Ferguson, it demonstrated how hashtags are important in allowing people to engage in discussions and join together to achieve a common cause, to bring awareness of injustices occurring.

The media that I chose is important because it is an example of the "coming out" undocumented students/ people must face. Carlos had to come out as undocumented to share and put a spotlight on this struggles he faces. As an undocumented immigrant with no social security his options were limited when deciding what to do after high school. It is necessary for people to understand the struggles immigrants face because it puts things into perspective and stops the dehumanization. By sharing his message he is making a stand that he is not going anywhere and will continue on to fight against his oppressors and oppression he has. As Constanza-Chock spoke on the Pathway to Participation section, people become involved after experiences and their surroundings. This is the case with Carlos since his own experiences are pushing him to continue the fight against injustices. I think Costanza-Chock would agree with Jenkin's convergence culture in the sense that old and new media are intertwined and one cannot survive without the other to create change within a movement or issue.


1. Have any of you experienced the movement jumping- where you become involved with one movement and then go on to another? (Pathways to participation)
2. Based on lecture, the debate, and this reading, would the DREAMers movement been as successful as it was without the social media aspect?
3. Regardless if you identify as an activist or not, have you become involved in a movement (i.e immigration, feminist, Bernie)? And if so, who influenced you to become involved?

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