Uniting America: Springfield Reflection

March 05, 2012
Melissa Brown Uniting America AmeriCorps Fellow

Going to Springfield is always a very exciting experience for me. The atmosphere there just feels different to me. I love anything related to politics and being inside the capitol building gave me an instant rush. People running around, lobbyist chasing politicians, people waiting to talk to their leaders, all of it together is what keeps our state and country going.


     Not everyone shares my excitement when it comes to politics and taking a 3 hour drive down to Springfield. When I was talking to people about coming I was not expecting many to get excited and want to come down to Springfield with us but I was pleasantly surprised by the volunteers. I had a few people come to the Spanish Center to discuss what we were going to Springfield for and what we would be doing. 


      I had 3 undocumented people with me that wanted to go down and were willing to talk to whoever they could about the drivers license issue. The men are all very concerned about getting a bill passed so they would be able to have licenses.  The other volunteers that came down with us to Springfield were all native born people, mainly senior citizens who were completely unaware of the driver license issue. This issue was able to create a discussion between the people in the van, the native born were amazed by the fact that so many people in the United States were refused to have license. Just from this discussion it made a few people more aware of the issue, and it also made the native-born people want to support this platform. One of the older men, who was a native-born, later pulled me to the side and started asking me about the license issue and what else immigrants were dealing with. He felt bad because he didn’t know about these things and that people had to deal with being worried about getting pulled over all the time. He also had no idea about the costs and the process that people had to go through in order to become a citizen.


     The trip to Springfield was an amazing learning experience for all. It was a great way for people to make new friends and learn a few new things about each other.