Maria Perales Sanchez ‘18 and Karina Aguilar Guerrero ‘20 attended the CAIR Conference at Pomona College in California in early April, with PPro’s support. Their report on the Conference and their participation is below:
What: CAIR Conference
When: April 7th- 9th
Where: Pomona College (California)
Who: Maria Perales Sanchez ‘18, Karina Aguilar Guerrero ‘20
Why: Develop leadership of participants, share our work with other campuses across the nation, build networks and streamline our activism
How: By attending workshops, lectures, conversations and modules
Learning: Participants attended different immigrants’ rights leadership and professional development modules. Amongst them were the “Addressing Institutional Needs” and “Re-Presenting Immigration” workshops. Through these workshops we brainstormed and discussed ways in which Dream Team and other campus organizations could push for institutional change to address undocumented students’ needs without perpetuating harmful or divisive narratives.
Action/Implementation: One of the concrete ideas that came out of these workshops was Dream Team’s potential name change. First, the ‘A’ in the name for instance stands for alien, an outdated harmful rhetoric. Second, The idea of DREAMers, an exemplary group of undocumented youth are deserving of legal reprieve because of their achievements and contributions to the country, undermines the fact that Black and Latinx communities are targeted and surveilled. The DREAMer narrative does not only equate worthiness with contribution, but also, further designate migrants who have contact with past enforcement and who aren’t seeking an education as unworthy of legal reprieve. Thus, in the next couple of semesters, we are likely to change the name
We meet with other campus’ organizations and learned what they were doing through modules such as “Organizing 101” and “Conversation: What is Your Campus Doing?”. We learned that other campuses were actively seeking to establish UndocuCenters, employing protections for their students and actually naming themselves ‘sanctuary campuses’. We continued fostering a network through our attendance and connected with a group of students from Harvard– a group we historically had little to no contact with.
Before the end of the semester, we plan to hold a retreat in which we describe ways to mobilize for next fall. All Dream Team members will be required to attend a portion, but future leaders are expected to attend the entire event as it will also be a planning meeting. We plan to continue our relationship with Dartmouth CoFired and capitalize on new relationships.
A great part of the conference involved attending lectures by established professors, activists and organizers. Some of those included the “State of Immigration Address” lead by Professor Hiroshi Motomura and a National Immigration Law Center (NILC) staff member, Ignacia Rodriguez; and “History of Migration” with Professor Miguel Tinker Salas and Professor Miriam Feldblum. The lectures provided context about contemporary and historic forms of migration, their consequent policies and the atmosphere in which they emerged.
A short presentation that reviews some of the context of these lectures will be given at the beginning of the retreat.
The retreat will be held on May 10th, 2017.