Student activists in North Carolina have taken their cause to the wrestling ring and with masks on their faces are using Mexican-style freestyle wrestling to raise awareness about the DREAM Act, a bill that would legalize many undocumented students.
The NC Dream Team, comprised of 15 young females from different parts of the state, some of whom are undocumented, has become known for using different methods to spread its message.
From hunger strikes, campaigns on the social networks to stop the deportation of students, vigils, immigrants' rights workshops and even going to jail, the group has made itself into an example in the battle to achieve the legalization of immigrant students.
This idea has opened a new universe of possibilities to raise awareness in the community in general about our social struggle and, for now, it's been a lot of fun.
- Viridiana Martinez, one of the organization's founder
"This idea has opened a new universe of possibilities to raise awareness in the community in general about our social struggle and, for now, it's been a lot of fun," Viridiana Martinez, one of the organization's founders, told Efe.
According to Martinez, two friends of the group, Durham promoters King Kennie and Jeff Johnson, created the concept of the "Luchadoras."
Two events have been held so far - both sellouts - and third is scheduled for Feb. 25, when 24 Luchadoras will demonstrate their wrestling strength and abilities.
Mexican Wrestling Meets Burlesque
The show consists of three hours full of emotion, with masked women, who when the bell sounds face off courageously against their rivals in the ring while the public applauds or shouts encouragement to their favorites.
"We're seeking to pay tribute to freestyle wrestling and present a show that people like. We have girls of different ages, who every time they get into the ring to fight ... (they do so) with enthusiasm," King told Efe.
King, who has experience in freestyle wrestling, said that the young women train several times per week.
Victoria Bouloubasis is one of the wrestlers who, with her character of "Medusa," is affected by the injustices occurring in the community of the young "dreamers," who don't give in in the face of the challenges that confront them in their daily lives.
For Martinez, the bouts fought by the Luchadoras in the ring are the same ones that undocumented immigrants face every day with the laws that destroy their dreams.
"It's a way of showing that yes, we can," Martinez said.
"All the Luchadoras are women. We wanted to do it that way because in our group there are many students. We've confronted the authorities to let them know that we're not afraid, that we're seeking to come out of the shadows," she said.
Bouloubasis said that the concept is really liked in the Anglo community, which gets the chance to learn about the reason for the event and the NC Dream Team.
"Some leave here with the desire to support us, they open their eyes to the reality experienced by undocumented students, and that - in part - is our aim," Bouloubasis said.
In addition to the shows in the ring, the Luchadoras are preparing a calendar that will soon go on sale.
The DREAM Act would allow the legalization of undocumented students who, among other requirements, entered the country before age 16, have graduated from high school or its equivalent and complete at least two years of college or serve in the U.S. military.
The measure was approved by the House of Representatives in 2007, but it was stymied in the Senate in 2010.