In the wake of the announcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA)’s rescission, the EC community hosted two events during the week of Sept. 17.
In order to build and spread awareness regarding DACA, the Student Government Association (SGA) and Hablamos organized a demonstration on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 19 in the Kranz Forum.
Prior to the rally, they invited all interested to Circle Hall to create signs.
Holding up signs with slogans such as “Build Communities, Not Walls” and “Defend DACA,” the attendees vocalized their support to those potentially affected by DACA’s rescission.
Their goal was to create further conversation about DACA as well as discuss strategies on informing the EC community on the issue.
“Just having and getting information out there is really beneficial,” said SGA president Estrella Vargas, who has previously contributed to the Leader.
Sophomore Yesenia Palomaros agreed with a community-driven outreach.
“Reaching out to others who aren’t directly Hispanic to make them feel more included is also important,” she said. “DACA covers all sorts of people. While the majority is Hispanic it is important to make everyone aware and help all who need it.”
“To take something away from people who have done nothing wrong is not alright,” she continued.
In addition, SGA and Hablamos hosted a DACA informational event in the Prospect and Alexander rooms on Thursday, Sept. 21.
An informational Powerpoint was displayed in both rooms. It summarized DACA and offered actions individuals can take to help protect the legislation. The list included reaching out to the Attorney General and contacting elected officials to speak on behalf of DACA.
Flyers, stickers and posters were spread throughout the tables, showing their support for the legislation and those who may be affected by it.
“#LoveDACA” and “Support Dreamers” were prominent taglines on the posters. The stickers, featuring a girl surrounded by monarch butterflies, read “My Dreams Are Not Illegal” and were offered to those passing by.
The flyers listed multiple ways to fulfill one’s civic engagement and included contact information for U.S. President Trump’s office and Illinois representatives and senators. A script was provided for those interested in contacting their representatives or senator.
Students interested in DACA advocacy attended the event. This included members of prominent student organizations, such as SGA, Hablamos, Union Board, Alpha Sigma Phi, Sigma Lambda Gamma and Sigma Kappa.
While both the Prospect and Alexander rooms were reserved, only the former held attendees.
Ana Garcia, a junior math major, was invited to speak at the event and share her own story.
She expressed frustrations regarding growing up undocumented while her siblings had documentation.
When DACA passed through legislation in 2012, she gained a different outlook.
“It gave me hope,” she said, “I got a job, got my feet wet, and worked my way up.”
When she was admitted to Elmhurst College, she was granted financial aid and is now part of the Honor’s Program. She wishes to be a mathematics professor following her undergraduate studies.
Regarding the next steps the EC community can take moving forward, Garcia emphasized an educational approach.
“Really, just voicing support and educating as many people as possible,” she said. “All it boils down to is six months from Sept. 5.”
Following the event, students called their representative, referring to the provided script.
President Troy VanAken was also in attendance, voicing the administration’s support for both current students and alumni.
“Some alumnae affected by this have reached out to me,” he said. “They wondered what our administration is doing. We’re keeping in touch with them and involving them in what comes next.”
In an email sent to the Leader, he stressed this connection between student body and administration.
He plans to personally meet with students, anticipating these meetings to be completed by the end of September.
Additionally, VanAken is working alongside Connie Mixon, the director of EC’s Urban Studies program — who previously worked with Sen. Dick Durbin on DACA’s predecessor, the Dreamer Act — on drafting a letter directed towards governmental officials.