UndocuWeek: A Space for Undocumented Students
As everyone on the dancefloor was dancing along to Caballo Dorado’s “Payaso de Rodeo,” it was clear that UndocuWeek accomplished its goal of bringing people together.
“We wanted to do something that didn’t have anything to do with organizing. We wanted to come out and destress, get to know each other,” said Janet Lopez, 23, Political Science major.
On Friday, March 9, the UndocuDance was held at The Depot on the basement level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center to end the week long festivities on a fun light hearted note.
“We want to accept everyone. We want to let them know them know this community at SF State exists. I hope that if they’re undocumented that they find a family and a support system,” said Maria, political science major and DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, recipient.
UndocuWeek was an event organized by SF State’s Dream Resource Center. The DRC collaborated with IDEAS, Improving Dreams, Equity, Access, and Success, a campus organization whose mission statement is to encourage and empower immigrant students to continue higher education.
“IDEAS is here to advocate for AB540 students and undocumented students. We help out students from different backgrounds not just Latinos,” said Maria.
She has requested to only be identified by her first name for security reasons.
The attendees emphasized that despite the political climate and the complications of their immigration status, undocumented students are no different than any other student on campus.
“We want to show to others that we’re just students. You don’t have to have to be a super activist to be undocumented,” said Manuel Martinez, a mechanical engineer major and education minor.
“Overall, we want to continue our dialogue. A lack of dialogue leads to assumptions, and assumptions aren’t good for anyone,” said Martinez.
San Francisco has had a long-standing history of being a sanctuary city. While there have been alterations made to the sanctuary policy, San Francisco has not wavered from its stance. For students like Maria, this fact influenced her decision to attend SF State.
“I’m safe where my family isn’t. It influenced me, but ultimately I learned about the community here and I wanted to be a part of bigger things,” said Maria.
The Trump administration has threatened the immigration status of 800,00 Dreamers as the administration looks to end DACA, and it has created a tension amongst local, state and federal government.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law in October 2017 that declared California, a sanctuary state. This law limits the cooperation between local officials and federal entities like ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
However, since this law was enacted, there have been ICE raids throughout California. While Maria’s decision to attend SF State has once eased her, she has become increasingly aware that she may not be as safe as she once thought she would be.
The UndocuDance provided undocumented students and their allies the rare opportunity to celebrate the undocumented student community without the necessity of having to educate people on what it means to be a Dreamer.
“We are regular students with regular lives. We like to have fun. We’re not another sob story, We’re just living our lives. We hope that other students become allies and become inspired to fight for our cause,” said Maria.