Before President Donald Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, I had never heard of DACA or knew that President Obama had established the program to protect the children of illegal immigrants from deportation. It should not have come as a surprise that Trump is yet again dismantling another piece of Obama’s legacy, but I still feel a sting of betrayal.
Yes, I can feel betrayed despite my milquetoast upbringing in the United States. The privilege of my birthplace protects me from the direct line of fire, but it still hurts every time I learn about how Trump and his administration continue to negatively affect marginalized communities. Ending DACA is an attack against some of our nation’s most vulnerable residents.
These young people are Americans in all but legal status, and they are also some of the most inspiring people in our nation. The sheer outpour of love and support for them from K-State alone has also been heartening to see.
On Wednesday, I was honored to join the student groups that came together to hold a rally in support of DACA and the “Dreamers,” so named for the proposed DREAM Act legislation. These protestors passed around a petition to tell our representatives that Congress needs to act now.
I stayed in Bosco Plaza for almost two full hours. We chanted phrases such as, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” “Up with education, down with deportation” and “One, two, three, four, DACA’s what we’re fighting for.”
Toward the end of the rally, things got emotional as students shared their stories and reasons why our fight today is part of a larger effort to defend marginalized voices. We stood in a circle with our signs and clapped for each speaker.
Even as our numbers dwindled, our voices did not weaken. For every baffled stare we got, more people smiled and gave us thumbs-up as they passed.
My face got sunburned, but I left the rally feeling energized and hopeful. Even though we still have plenty to do to ensure Dreamers can remain in the U.S., it’s a cause worth fighting for.
I held a sign that said, “A DREAM(er) is a wish your heart makes.” Maybe it’s cheesy to quote Disney, but it rings true for me. The Dreamers need us just as much as we need them.
Stephanie Wallace is a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.