The University of Illinois Springfield Diversity Center, in conjunction with the Organization of Latin American Students, hosted the third annual I Stand With Immigrants Day of Action on Wednesday, Oct. 24. This event transpired in order to raise awareness for individuals’ rights and demonstrate support for immigrants across the country.
The event was part of a nationwide day of action involving 170 schools, which is 20 more than the previous year. At UIS, the event was split into two parts: the day of action where volunteers made posters with the theme of why they stood with immigrants, and then the displaying of these posters at the second part of the event, which was a rally held later in the evening.
The rally began with a quiz on topics related to individuals’ rights and immigration issues. The quiz asked questions regarding whether Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has the right to detain or arrest United States citizens based on immigration status (they don’t), whether you can film police while being questioned (you can in Illinois), how many people have been locked up by ICE in the past year (39,322). The quiz also included common questions on naturalization tests, such as who the president was during the Great Depression and the Second World War. The answer was Franklin Delano Roosevelt and not, as some answered, Andrew Jackson.
The next part of the event then began: a presentation discussing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that elaborated on the background of the program and discussed the difficulties undocumented immigrants face. It also dispelled misconceptions about DACA recipients. As part of the presentation, a short film entitled “Illegal” was shown depicting the struggles faced by undocumented immigrants and their bravery in the face of adversity.
“I Stand With Immigrants is a day to celebrate and educate people about immigrants,” said Da Zhane’ Sinclair, one of the organizers and the daughter of an immigrant.
De Javu Sinclair, another organizer, called the Trump administration’s current immigration policies disrespectful and violating of human rights.
“Why would you want to single out others?” Sinclair said. “There are so many different things they offer us, diversity in the USA; pushing that away is only hurting ourselves.”