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Immigration Awareness Week at Marquette University demands ‘Legalization for all!’

By Nancy Garcia and Nyree Khamo |
November 8, 2015
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Milwaukee, WI - Youth Empowered in the Struggle at Marquette University (YES-MU) hosted its third annual Immigration Awareness Week, Nov. 2 – 9, including a march and vigil demanding legalization for all. Students, faculty and community members participated in many events, with 40 students attending an Open Mic Night for Migrant Justice. During the week, two panel discussions prepared Marquette students for action: “Forced Migration” and “You May Say I’m a DREAMER”.

The first panel focused on the Syrian and Central American refugee crisis, discussing how U.S. wars, military occupation, and interventions cause people to flee and look for new lives in other countries. Central Americans fleeing death squads and dictatorships came to the U.S. over the past decades. Today it is hundreds of thousands fleeing U.S. wars, with people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan attempting to find safety in Europe and Turkey.

Rebeca Zellelew, a YES-MU member commented, “Having both my parents flee their native homeland in Ethiopia, one as a refugee and the other through asylum, the critical analysis of the Syrian and Central American Refugee crisis was vital for me to understand, especially in relation to the hushed role the U.S. government plays, and consistently contributes to inhumane atrocities around the world. Panels like this are significant to change our student body.”

The event ended with a solidarity march and candlelight vigil that was a part of the Legalization for All week of action. It was at Joan of Arc Chapel at Marquette University in remembrance of the mothers and children held by the U.S. government at for-profit detention facilities for over a year.

The second event “You May Say I’m a DREAMER”, focused on undocumented youth and their struggles to pursue higher education. The panelists included two Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and another youth and immigrant rights activist.

“We will continue to raise awareness around immigration and issues of social justice at Marquette. The student body is predominantly white and middle to upper class and they do not always get a chance to see varying perspectives and to see the realities of the lives of people of color. That is where we hope we can direct the support from the Marquette community towards initiatives like a scholarship fund for undocumented students,” explained YES-MU President Miguel Sanchez.

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