On Feb. 18 at 3 p.m., in the Betty Tipton Room, Eastern’s Freedom club hosted a rally called UnDocurally in support of immigrant rights. The rally brought awareness to the current political climate that is threatening the undocumented community. The Supreme Court case has to make a decision to continue or rescind DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, before June. Many people believe that the decision will be made within two months due to the Presidential election. Freedom at Eastern, the activism club on campus for undocumented rights, sought to unite administration, faculty, the DACAmented community that will be affected by the Supreme Court decision, and allies together to stand in solidarity. The rally emphasized that this was an issue that affected everyone whether one has status or not, or whether one cared for immigration issues, gender issues, and/or political issues.
Eastern and the student body had the opportunity to show their support for the DACAmented and undocumented community at Eastern, a majority who attends the university as out-of-state students on a scholarship from TheDream.Us. “My mother traveled 1,800 miles. I traveled 1,004 miles. My migration was considered legal, hers was not,” said Brittney Acevedo, the president of Freedom at Eastern. The fear is real for the lives of those who have DACA as they risk losing their rights to live in the United States legally and the few benefits given to them, such as having a driver’s license and traveling domestically, or being eligible for a work permit in the U.S. The rally was to allow the community to step up and start advocating for immigrant rights.
To start out the event, there were several speakers who spoke out about the importance of this issue, and why this rally is important for the campus community. Father Larry, who is part of the Campus Ministry, talked about how important it is to speak up for everyone. “We must speak for our brothers and sisters, even if no one will speak for us because it is the right thing to do. Today and always.” Another speaker was Dr. Christine Garcia, who is a member of the English Department faculty at Eastern. She read a poem that highlighted the reality that undocumented people could face and may be facing today. She also stated that she wants to make sure that people are sharing their stories with the community. “Make sure that you’re talking to your friends and family about your experience here with our undocumented students. The fact that you live with these people, you love with these people, you learn with undocumented and temporarily documented students. Spread the word,” said Garcia.
In the next part of the event, students gathered to march in solidarity from the Betty Tipton Room to Webb Hall. Although it was a little rainy outside, students still shouted call and response chants such as, “Undocumented!” in which everyone else would shout “Unafraid!” Another chant to show representation towards the LGBT community included a chant that where someone would shout, “Queer Queer” and be answered with “Unashamed!” Naomi Carranza made a mention of how the immigration issue is also a race and class one. We have to also recognize that beyond the immigration issue there is also unfairness happening everywhere such as inequality. At the end of the rally, College Democrat Club members encouraged students to register to vote, so that they could have a say in what can happen in our society. To get more involved with Freedom at Eastern, please join their general body meetings on Tuesdays at 8 pm in room 115 at the Student Center.