“Up with education, down with deportation.”
This was one of the many things people chanted at the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) demonstration outside the University of Idaho Commons Friday.
Dozens of Vandals linked arms together to stand in solidarity with those affected by Trump’s recent decision to phase out DACA, a program protecting young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, from deportation.
The demonstration, initiated by Movimiento Activita Social (MAS), gave students the opportunity to speak out about their views on DACA.
“We have a platform in order to be a voice for people who may not be heard otherwise,” said Bella Villalpando, Media Liaison for the demonstration.
Villalpando said the purpose of the DACA demonstration was to take up space, provide an opportunity to open dialogue with the community and further educate about the DACA program and the way Trump’s action will affect people.
She said the demonstration was also put together in hopes of influencing what might happen following the DACA decision and what they can do to ensure DACA recipients are protected.
“The most important thing right now is exposure and awareness,” Villalpando said. “And just kind of showing that we’re all different on our campus, we all are from different organizations, we all are from different walks of life but this is something that we all want to unite and show our solidarity and show that we as Vandals care and we as Vandals have each other’s backs.”
While the demonstration focused more on students, Villalpando said it was a way to bring awareness to the Defend DACA Rally, which took place Sunday at East City Park.
MAS and Here for Our People’s Empowerment, or H.O.P.E., distributed pamphlets during the demonstration which included information on DACA and tips on different actions people can take.
Various other groups around campus, including the Office of Multicultural Affairs and multicultural Greek houses, were involved in the demonstration.
“We just want to stress the unification on our campus and stress that now is a time that we all need to get involved and be active in our political processes and active in what is going to happen next,” Villalpando said. “We want to advocate and make sure that people know how to contact their senators and they know how to have their voices heard.”
Diana Olmos, a student at UI, said she wanted to participate to support individuals who could have their privileges provoked.
“There are people that have been contributing to our economy, to our country and they have done nothing wrong. They were just brought here when they were young and I’m just fighting for what’s right,” Olmos said. “It’s definitely sad and it’s a cause that I want to support.”
Savannah Cardon can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @savannahlcardon