When silenced voices speak out as one, their message becomes all the more powerful, and that was proven during the DACA Rally: Coming out of the Shadows event held on Sept. 26 at the Cal State University-San Bernardino campus.
A crowd of students, professors, administrators, and public allies marched around the perimeter of the Pfau Library lawn.
They carried signs showing words of encouragement for undocumented students and immigrants, even making their way through the Santos Manuel Student Union as they chanted phrases promoting change.
Since the announcement in early September that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be rescinded, there has been significant backlash across the nation.
The CSUSB community has been affected by this development, which is why the DREAMers Resource and Success Center has taken measures to ensure undocumented students feel safe and accommodated on campus.
Prior to the rally, the DREAMers Resource and Success Center hosted an Undocumented Student Ally Training session to spread awareness about how to better serve the undocumented student population.
The event lasted from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lower Commons. Attendees were then invited to participate in the DACA Rally, hosted by the student organization, Undocumented Advocates, at 4 p.m.
The program coordinator of the DREAMers Resource and Success Center, Maria Barragan-Arreguin, made opening statements to thank all faculty and community members for participating in support of the cause. Under the guidance of CSUSB senior Estefania Esparza, the crowd proceeded with their march.
Esparza is the oldest of four sisters and feels the need to act as a role model to them. She is also the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Undocumented Advocates at CSUSB. Her involvement in the DACA Rally not only served to fight for her own rights, but to encourage her siblings to be successful in the only country they have ever known.
“It was important for myself to be involved because I think often times we don’t really realize the things that we deserve or things we should have as basic rights, including the right to work and the right to have a pathway to success… If we don’t fight for ourselves, no one else will. Nobody will take a stand and defend you. You have to be your own advocate for your rights,” stated Esparza.
Following the march, various guest speakers shared their stories of discrimination and triumph. In attendance was CSUSB president Tomás D. Morales and the founder of UncoduMedia, Ivan Ceja.
Students were also encouraged to speak about their struggles and why they felt the need to spread awareness about the undocumented population on campus.
“I think it’s important for all of us to unite, not just for our human rights, but also to create awareness for the immigrant communities. We need to bring awareness that we are here on campus, and that we have experienced discrimination throughout our lives. This rally was a big responsibility and we hope to inspire others to speak out when something seems unjust,” said Leticia Herrera, who shared her story at the event.
The DACA rally successfully demonstrated the overwhelming support for the undocumented population at CSUSB. The DREAMers Resource and Success Center strives to better serve these students as well as teach others how to be helpful allies.
“I believe a good ally just has to be human. Put yourself in that situation. If you want help, do you want people speaking for you? Do you want them to make decisions for you and tell you what’s best for you? You’d want people to sit down and listen to you speak and say what you need help with,” stated Communication professor Liliana Gallegos, who was in attendance at the rally.
To learn more information about this important topic and future events, follow the Undocumented Advocates @ CSUSB on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.