By Kaylee Lawler
Students chanted “When our community is under attack what do we do? Stand up fight back!” to support the rights of undocumented students during the “Unite and Fight” demonstration on Wednesday.
Student Advocates for Higher Education (SAHE) organized the event in front of the Tommie Smith and John Carlos statues for San Jose State’s undocumented community.
“I’m hoping for students, especially Spartan students, to get informed about what’s happening, especially here in this community,” engineering senior Jose said. “I understand that many of us [here] are students. There are around 33,000 students, however, [and] I haven’t seen a lot of involvement.”
Jose is an undocumented student and a DACA recipient. He hopes students educate themselves about issues involving undocumented students and help support them on campus.
“What inspires me to do this is that it’s for my community and for everyone, not just myself but for everyone,” Jose said.
A couple of organizations on campus, including Students for Justice in Palestine and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan (MEChA) attended the demonstration to show their support.
Bay Area organizations such as Services, Immigration Rights and Education Network (SIREN) also attended. SIREN informs community members about laws that affect them and gets people involved in advocacy work.
Attendees formed a human chain around the Smith and Carlos statues.
Organizers read a list of demands which included immigration reform, a pathway to citizenship, no naturalization fees, no deportations, and no deportation centers.
Planning for the event began over a month ago.
“It’s been hard, but it’s been very rewarding,” studio art senior Estefania Bautista said. “We’ve been working to get everything together.”
In the beginning of the semester when DACA was revoked, SAHE members and other SJSU students decided to organize the rally to bring awareness to students.
Last week, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was revoked from 2,500 Nicaraguans according to the Washington Post. They were given 14 months to leave the United States.
According to Politico, congress has until March 5, 2018 to make a decision regarding the DACA program. President Donald Trump challenged Congress to pass legislation that determines the future of undocumented students and their families.
“It’s powerful to see [this rally],” SIREN community organizer Erica said. “Especially ever since the current administration [began], a lot of our brothers and sisters who have documentation who are citizens have been reaching out to SIREN seeing how they can support.”
Erica attended the event to speak to students and inform them of what actions SIREN has taken to help DACA recipients. She and the rest of SIREN supports SAHE and its allies.
Erica is a DACA recipient. Her parents immigrated over 20 years ago.
“As a first-generation student [and] first-generation immigrant I’ve seen the struggle, and it touches home,” Erica said.
Carlos Amaya, economics senior and co-chair of SAHE, said there are plans to organize rallies and public demonstrations before March 5.
“This [rally] is special because as part of our campaign, we decided to draft a list of demands that SAHE is going to abide by,” Amaya said. “It’s going to provide a framework for future interactions to come.”