Students gathered in front of The Spot dining hall Wednesday morning to celebrate and stand in solidarity for the eighth annual national “I Stand With Immigrants Day of Action.”
“It’s a comprehensive opportunity to really create engagement, awareness and to promote action,” said Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs and the center for multicultural services.
Loera also acts as co-chair of the Dream Team, the campus organization that supports undocumented, or DACA students, which hosted the campus event.
“Historically, DACA students and undocumented students have not really had a voice on campus,” said Krystal Rodriguez-Campos, associate dean of law at the College of Law and Public Service and director of the justice and immigration clinic and co-chair of the Dream Team. “They’ve kind of (kept) their status to themselves in fear of retribution or just not being able to connect to other individuals. So … we want them, as a dream team, to feel supported and that we’re here to help them in any way that we can.”
A rainy day didn’t stop students from participating, picking up T-shirts that read “I Stand With Immigrants,” and adding their thoughts to various discussion boards asking questions like “Tell us about your immigrant heritage. What does it mean to you?”
Freshman kinesiology major Amaya Jiao answered with the words “strength” and “perseverance.”
“I think immigrants are really strong people, and, at least with my family, I’ve seen them persevere through so much,” said Jiao, whose parents both immigrated from the Philippines.
She said she thinks having an event like this one creates a safer space on campus.
“Representation is everything,” she said.
In addition to participating in these discussion boards, students also had the opportunity to sign up for the new IDEAS, or Improving Dreamers Equity Access and Success, club.
President of the IDEAS Club and graduate student in education Wendy Alba started the club to support and create community on campus for this student group.
“As an undocumented student, I was searching for support on campus,” Alba said. She soon realized there was no current club offering that support.
Alba is hoping that IDEAS will become an official club next semester.
The club will encourage citizens, non-citizens and DACA recipients to come together and support one another.
For more information on IDEAS, follow the club’s Instagram page @ulv_ideas.
Olivia Modarelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olivia Modarelli, a senior journalism major with a concentration in print-online journalism, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times. She previously served as a staff writer and copy editor.