Student groups host open mic event in support of undocumented immigrants


Jacob Fulton/The Daily Northwestern

Lambda Theta Alpha chapter treasurer and event organizer Yurizet Villa. Villa spoke at the open mic event, sharing her stories of how immigration has directly impacted her with students.

Jacob Fulton, Reporter

Members of Lambda Theta Alpha, a national Latin sorority, and Alianza, Northwestern’s Latinx student alliance, held a Tuesday open mic event at The Rock in support of undocumented immigrants.

The event was part of a greater movement, the I Stand With Immigrants Day of Action, and schools across the nation participated in similar ways to bring awareness to the discrimination and legal obstacles undocumented immigrants face. Members of both groups shared personal stories of how immigration has touched their lives, performed spoken-word poetry and explained how students could get involved in activism surrounding the issue.

This year, members said the event was especially timely, as the Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments for a case that will determine the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a program first started by former President Barack Obama that has been contested by President Donald Trump.

Lambda Theta Alpha chapter treasurer and event organizer Yurizet Villa said that though the issue of DACA has been hotly debated over the past few years, the issue of immigration has felt relevant to her since her freshman year.

“There was a protest my freshman year where there were rumors about an alleged (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agent on campus,” the Weinberg senior said. “Since that day, as a student who has a direct relationship to the actions of ICE agents, I felt that it was important to have peaceful events that allow students to express their emotions.”

Villa said that the issue’s proximity to many Northwestern students makes this event essential for the school’s community, and she hopes it will make students consider the impact of their vote on the people around them.

Many of the event’s attendees were directly impacted by immigration in some way. Alianza president Naomi Banuelos-Lozano said that this proximity to the issue has made many activists forgetful of the fact that people may not always know how to approach the subject in their lives.

“I’ve been active in this issue for a long time — my parents are immigrants,” Banuelos-Lozano said. “While working in those fields for a long time, I realized a lot of people don’t know how to talk to immigrants or how to talk about immigrants. They have so many stereotypes and predispositions about what they imagine immigrants being like, and for me this is a way to depict and characterize immigrants as part of the community instead of outside the community.”

Lambda Theta Alpha vice president Rocio Bautista said the topic is one the sorority feels very passionate about, and that educating the Northwestern community is something they hope to continue to do.

Because many students haven’t experienced the impact of immigration directly in their life, Bautista said one of the event’s main purposes was to inform students about how they could be productive allies to immigrants.

“We hope that everybody learns more about the issue and also finds some way to help — any way they can,” Bautista said. “Anybody is able to help in one way or another, and we hope that those who hear about this can find something to do to support the cause.”

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