At 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, the campus community gathered in front of the Bronco Dreamers Resource Center (BDRC) to march in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the undocumented community.
The Supreme Court hearings are taking place with the Trump administration intending to terminate the Obama immigration policy, which protects individuals who entered the U.S. illegally as children from deportation.
Cal Poly Pomona’s Demanda Estudiantil Para la Igualdad Educacional (D.E.P.I.E.) works to spread positive awareness of immigrants and immigration issues. The group has joined with the BDRC, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, UC Riverside Puente Connection and Mt. San Antonio College’s Improving Dreams Equality, Access and Success (IDEAS) to organize the event.
Supporters met at the Old Horse Stables on campus where the cultural centers can be found. Their energy hummed in the air with excitement and joy as protestors posed with vibrant pink banners that read, “FIGHT FOR DACA #HomeIsHere.”
Christopher Castillo Gonzalez works as the president for D.E.P.I.E. He was at the head of the march and envisions a campus that offers more resources to the undocumented community.
“You never know what could happen in this (presidential) administration,” Gonzalez said. There’s a lot of fear and anxiety for many, and I want to clarify that we are here for them. We need all staff, faculty and administration to support, and to find more opportunities for undocumented students with DACA and without DACA.”
Cindi Lopez works as an immigrant student justice leader at the BDRC. She comes from a mixed-status family and is engaged to an undocumented person. To her, this march means giving voice to a community she feels is suppressed.
“Voices like this need to be heard,” Lopez said. “There are people that will tell (undocumented people) that they don’t have rights, that they shouldn’t be here …. They are humans just like us and it’s just a social security number that makes us different; everything else is completely the same.”
The march led through the Student Services Building (SSB), where it passed a group of visiting high school students who cheered and pulled out their phones to post the event on social media.
Carla Castillo works as the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) diversity and inclusion officer and is a DACA recipient. She hopes the march raises awareness about the issue to the CPP community.
“There is not a lot of help for us here and (the march) is just a reminder to the students that we are always welcoming allies,” Castillo said. “It is also a reminder to the university that there is a new generation of students that won’t have DACA …. I wish President Coley was here to march with us, to really show that she stands along with students.”
Heads turned as the normally quiet University Quad filled with unified rally chants. “Home is here,” and “El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido (The people united, will never be defeated)” echoed across the lawn for all to hear.
Fourth-year liberal studies student, Karina Tostado, is focusing her aspirations on becoming a student affairs professional. She feels that currently, institutions are overlooking their undocumented communities. She hopes that the march sparks dialogue on the CPP campus.
“(Involvement) is the only way to understand student needs,” Tostado said. “This is the important work. The administrators that show up, you can tell that they care.”
The demonstration ended on the northern end of the University Quad, across the street from Building 1. Participants were still dedicated to their cause, even in the heat. Many were out of breath from the long route and chanting. Before parting, organizers spoke to the committed gathering, urging future collective support for the undocumented community.
“(Undocumented people) are people that feed us, teach our classrooms, provide us with counseling services and many crucial jobs throughout campus and society,” Gonzalez said. “Cal Poly Pomona cannot afford to lose the skills, the expertise and the dedication of these workers. If these nine justices take DACA away, they will leave thousands without protection.”
The Supreme Court did not come to a decision just yet and has until June 2020 to do so.
Central American Resource Center of Los Angeles (CARECEN) offers legal aid free of charge on CPP’s campus. Financial aid is available on a needs basis for the application’s fee(s). One can make an appointment at https://usscpplegal.youcanbook.me/. If you are a DACA recipient, it is advised to renew your paperwork as soon as possible.
D.E.P.I.E. meetings are held every Tuesday during U-Hour at the BDRC. The center is located in Building 26, room 101 and can be reached at 909-869-2728.
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