Leadership and service are not only an expectation of the Hermanos of La Unidad Latina, but also characteristics that the fraternity seeks to recognize and support. Such was the case in 2010 by the Mid-Atlantic region of La Unidad Latina in their support of the DREAM Walkers. The DREAM walkers were four students from Florida who left Miami on January 1, 2010 to embark on a 1500-mile journey to Washington D.C. to support the DREAM Act. The efforts underscored their intentions for the United States government to put an end to the separation of families, uphold worker’s rights and a establish pathway to citizenship for children of immigrants. The Walkers were brought to the United States as children by their families and were raised only knowing the United States as their home. The DREAM Act would directly impact them and many young adults like themselves. As the Walkers noted they had similar “hopes and dreams” as other young individuals. However, because of their immigration status, they’ve spent their childhoods “in fear and hiding, unable to achieve their full potential. The go on and explain that “we walk in order to share our stories and to call on our leaders to fix the system that forces people like us into the shadows, stripping us of the opportunity to participate meaningfully in society” (trail2010.org).
The Hermanos of the Mid-Atlantic Region not only met the Dream Walkers but also worked alongside them in efforts to advocate for immigrant rights and access to higher education for all. They hosted the Walkers for four days of discourse and education in April of 2010. In October of the same year, the national fraternity of La Unidad Latina recognized the Dream Walkers for their commitment to the Latino Community at the fraternity’s national convention. Three of the DREAM Walkers, Carlos Roa, Felipe Matos, and Juan Rodriguez were recognized as honorary Hermanos of the fraternity. Walker Gaby Pacheco also received a special recognition award from the fraternity for her efforts and commitment to the community. As Hermano Jose Contreras reflects, “although they are young, they exhibited true leadership in our community and handled themselves in a professional manner that extends beyond their years. The DREAM Walkers stand as an example to all of us of what it means to be a leader in the community.”