Talk About Diversity

Once I made the decision to participate in the National Immigration Policy Summit, things began to move quickly and smoothly. As much as I tried to prepare myself for the weekend, I wasn’t prepared for any of it. It was not at all what I expected.

First off, in typical college student fashion, I wasn’t prepared for my seminars as I procrastinated too much in the week before the summit. My first seminar was right after lunch, where Michelle Malkin was a special guest presenter. As usual, Mrs. Malkin was inspiring and informative. As soon as lunch ended and we all made our way back to the Arizona Senate Chambers, it hit me that I had a very tough act to follow. All of a sudden the nerves set in, but as I was set to present, Katrina Pierson, one of the leaders of the Dallas Tea Party, calls me off the Senate floor. Right outside the door waiting for me was Michelle Malkin herself, and as you’d guess, I spazzed out just a little bit!

Mrs. Malkin signed my copy of “Culture of Corruption,” and we spoke for a while after taking a few pictures. I knew that I was holding up the seminar a few minutes, but c’mon it was my chance to meet Michelle Malkin! Plus, I wasn’t the only one presenting during that time period . . . and I got to meet Michelle Malkin, which was awesome if I haven’t already mentioned that.

Once I regained my composure and returned to the senate chambers, my nerves were all of a sudden gone, which was convenient because after my first seminar ended, I found out that it was being streamed live online across the nation. After a short speech, participants asked me a variety of questions ranging from my experiences being politically involved in high school and on a college campus to my views on race relations to my plan for enacting sensible immigration reforms. I promise that as soon as I can get a hold of the video, I will be posting it online.

As soon as my first seminar ended, I had a short 10 minute break before my next one which was being held in a hearing room somewhere else in the Senate Building. The second seminar was very similar to the first, but our format was a little different as we only did a Q&A rather than speeches before taking questions. I was joined by Maureen Wood from Progressives for Immigration Reform. Ms. Wood was also with me for my first seminar and Katrina Pierson from the Dallas Tea Party.

Ms. Wood is a former AFL-CIO member and conservative but represents an organization of progressives who stand with Arizona and believe that border enforcement is a necessary part of a sensible immigration reform package. Many of us were surprised to hear the name of her organization, Progressives for Immigration Reform, but it was very common to find liberals at the summit in support of Arizona.

Due to Ms. Wood’s presence, other union members and liberals garnered the courage to “out” themselves. This was one of the things I was most unprepared for. On TV we only see union thugs being bused to Arizona to stage protests, but we never see the ones who disagree with their union bosses.

These seminars helped me further my theme of working together as Americans! I may not agree with some of the other participants on every issue, but immigration is one of the issues we agreed on and where it is critical that we open our minds to a serious dialog aimed at solving the problem rather than inciting hate or fear.

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