JOSÉ M. CHIQUITO GALVÁN
The last time I wrote a piece for The Record it was released the day after election night. At that point, I felt defeated and the whole world seemed to be in utter chaos. Some were happy but for most of us on campus, it was a somber day despite the sun shining over us.
Since then, people who have sat complacent to many things suddenly saw their own rights being threatened.
With the start of a new year and a new presidency, I felt confused and could not find proper ways to channel my frustration, anger, and many other sentiments that clouded my thoughts. Outrage pumped through my veins as I read news stories on hate crimes and policies targeting minorities every day.
With so many more issues in the world and not enough solutions, I felt torn between the efforts I should contribute to, but nothing else seemed to matter when my own future was threatened.
In that same way, I have felt detached from deportations up until now. My status as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student, has given me the privilege to work and study in the United States without the fear of deportation. Not anymore.
The president and his administration are now arresting and deporting all undocumented people in this country, including DACA students and anyone who attempts to stand up and be a voice of reason. In the last month, two DACA recipients were arrested and are now going through a process of deportation, despite the administration’s promise to DACA recipients to not have fear.
Children of immigrants born in this country are living in constant panic as their parents are arrested in front of them on their way to school.
The Indiana state legislature is also pursuing to instill apprehension through legislation to dissuade undocumented immigrants from greater aspirations other than factory jobs.
Senate Bill 423 prevents universities and colleges in Indiana funded by the state or federal government from becoming sanctuary campuses, that means both public and private institutions.
What does this mean for DREAMers? At last, our undocumented immigrants had felt empowered by having their own youth reside in this country with a social security number that allowed them to get a legitimate job. For once, people like myself did not have to cower in the shadows.
This administration’s rhetoric sends dangerous and contradictory messages by stating that undocumented DACA recipients should not be distressed, but Trump has also declared that every person in the States who did not arrive to this country “legally” is subject to deportation.
Nonetheless, the spirit of the thousands of DREAMers that organized, demonstrated, and civilly disobeyed laws in 2011 persists.
They were not the last undocumented immigrants and students to dress in high school graduation robes and defiantly stand proud in front of authorities who approached them and then arrested them. They were not the last to demand a comprehensive immigration reform, even in these politically chaotic times.
Latinx student leaders from across Indiana have decided to join and organize to show the strength and determination of our communities. La resistencia, the resistance, is taking on a whole new force with an entirely new generation of Latinx-Americans. The children of immigrants are turning of age and beginning to show their leadership.
In Goshen, we saw this in “A Day Without Immigrants” as high school Latinx students organized a peaceful demonstration in front of the county courthouse.
These are U.S. born, Latinx youth who come from families of mixed statuses, where their own parents or older siblings may risk deportation. These children have grown up hearing stories of treacherous journeys their parents endured for the sake of a better future. These are the children who also know the struggles of being perceived as less because of the color of their skin but, who also have the privileges and potential to change oppressive systems.
There is no future in America without a future for immigrants in this country. There is no future in America without women and immigrant women who still act on self-sacrifice to provide their children with better opportunities.
To change the unjust structure of this country it will take a serious effort from every one of us to contribute as much as we can. It is not enough to post and share on social media. It is not enough to go to a march.
Real change happens when we write a meaningful letter to the editor expressing our allegiance to a marginalized group. Change happens when we call and meet with our representatives. Change happens when we become active members of an organization by volunteering our time or talent. Amazing things happen when we register new voters, become precinct presidents, or run for office.
REAL change happens when we become REAL activists. Yes, that includes being tired and even cynical, but what drives us are the innumerable injustices that occur every day and are therefore, impossible to ignore.