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Bold Steps Society’s Periphery

Dreamers communicate struggles and future prospects

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Members of the Dreamer's Resource Center

Members of the Dreamer's Resource Center

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Members of the Dreamer's Resource Center

Miguel Arriola, Intern

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In the USU Plaza on Tuesday, May 2, an event called Stepping Out of the Shadows was held by Students United to Reach Goals in Education (SURGE), the Cross Cultural Center, and the Dreamers Resource Center.  The purpose of the yearly event was to recognize the struggles and achievements of Dreamers/AB540 students at CSULA.  

Luz Barjon of the Dreamers Resource Center describes it as “the signature event of the year for SURGE in which they reveal their current status to the campus and share their struggles with their fellow students.  It’s a very positive event designed to found unity and empathy among students.”  When speaking of the event’s outcome, Rocio Diaz, also from the Dreamer Center, voiced her pride and support of the Dreamer students who stepped forward to tell their stories.  “It takes a lot of courage to go in front of your campus or strangers to say that you are undocumented and unafraid.”  This is particularly true when considering undocumented activists have been targeted for deportation in recent months.  She added, “I think this event did something to help diversify what it means to be a Dreamer.”  Alongside music performances, calls to activism were made, and poems about subjects like crossing the desert and human traffickers were recited.  Items sold nearby included T-shirts, pins featuring messages in Spanish like “my existence is resistance”, as well as one using joking strong language to proclaim personal strength modelled on that of a strong grandmother.

The tone and messages of the speakers were of agency among undocumented people; unapologetic and assertive in their demands to be respected, as well as people to be left in peace.  One speaker declared he was tired of being asked if he was born in the US.  Other students talked of their parents’ journeys to the US, as well as of the effects on children knowing they were different children not of undocumented families.  Another referred to Socrates and declared this is his country too, by virtue of his spending most of his time in it.  Still another speaker criticized the president of CSULA for a joke made about turning a dinner event into a sanctuary for the undocumented.

Other topics and sentiments mentioned were the domestic hatred of foreigners taking up jobs and benefits, the idea that immigrants share many of the hopes and aspirations of all Americans, the forging of alliances between communities, not leaving without a fight, the ability to be successful anywhere because of character, and the atmosphere of open racism that has flourished alongside Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant politics.

Additionally, Professor of Latin American Studies and History at CSULA, Enrique Ochoa, explained that there are not ONLY 11 million undocumented people in the US; anyone of which are potentially at risk of deportation.  There are many more millions who would be affected due to loss of family members, friends, or people they otherwise know.  As was stated at the event and elsewhere (and must continue to be repeated), a disruption to our society of this magnitude must not be normalized or tolerated.  Large scale and indiscriminate deportations affecting peaceful people are not a policing duty that must be periodically carried out.  They are forced mass migrations and displacements similar to those of history’s worst actors with whom the United States claims to have little in common.

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Bold Steps Society’s Periphery