During the week of Oct. 14, Undocumented Student Week of Action took place in colleges across the state of California to provide support and resources for undocumented students.
Moorpark College has been participating in Undocumented Student Week of Action for the last two years and Arisay Diaz, a third-year Moorpark College student, has participated both years and was able to attend the 11 events hosted by Moorpark this year.
Diaz says her favorite activities throughout the week were the Meet & Greet, Chicana Feminism and the Know Your Rights workshop.
“During the Know Your Rights, I learned that we are allowed to travel in the United States and visit other states,” Diaz said. “There is also stuff going on in the government that I didn’t know before which gives us a little more hope.”
Karla Montenegro Gonzalez, Moorpark College student success coach, says she has always been interested in supporting immigrants and undocumented individuals.
“Students had an opportunity to share their story, reflect on their experiences and express themselves artistically while practicing self-care,” Montenegro Gonzalez said. “They learned more about how to get involved on campus, manage finances, learn their rights and received assistance to apply for the CA Dream Act.”
The Dreamers can be identified by a butterfly symbol located at various spaces around campus.
“The butterfly is a symbol of migration and resiliency, as you may remember, not so long ago we saw the beautiful migration of butterflies, and part of a butterfly’s journey is to migrate to warm areas for food, shelter and ultimately survival.” Montenegro Gonzalez said. “Similarly, individuals who are immigrants come to the U.S. for a better future for themselves and their families.”
As a supplemental event for Undocumented Student Week of Action, an advocacy workshop was hosted on Wednesday by english professor Tamarra Coleman. With her extensive background as a former Senior Policy Associate in Illinois, Coleman presented strategies and techniques pertaining to advocacy.
Coleman has helped organize outreach events on campus like Women’s History Month, Constitution Day and Multicultural Day.
“My hope is when students leave any campus, especially community college … that students realize that they have a voice and that their voice is important in the larger world no matter how small that contribution is. And that students don’t feel like they can’t say anything or they don’t have a place at the table,” Coleman said.
At events throughout the week, students were given many resourceful items including success bags stocked with necessary school supplies such as notebooks, calculators, scantrons, blue-books and writing utensils, as well as a Red Cards which offer appropriate responses to protect an individual’s constitutional rights regardless of immigration status.
Additional Red Cards and information can be accessed at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s website.
“I hope that students enjoyed meeting and hearing the stories and narratives of other students,” Montenegro Gonzalez said. “I also hope students learned how to exercise their rights when asked about their documents.”
Though Undocumented Student Week of Action has come to an end, students still have resources available to them throughout the year.
“We have safe spaces on campus which include the Student Success Center, Financial Aid Office, Scholarships Office, EOPS, and any other spaces that have the Blue Butterfly Sign with the word “DREAMers” on it,” Montenegro Gonzalez said.
Students who are interested in receiving more resources and support on campus can contact Karla Montenegro Gonzalez or head to the Student Success Center.