CSUN celebrates second annual ‘Undocumented Student Week of Action’

CSUN students draw on a mural in participation for the “Undocumented Student Week of Action” at CSUN in Northridge, Calif., on Oct. 17, 2022. CSUN’s DREAM Center participated in the week-long event alongside other colleges in California.

Damaris Galeano, Reporter

On Oct. 17, the CSUN DREAM Center kicked off it’s second annual “Undocumented Student Week of Action.” This week-long event, which ran from Oct. 17-20, celebrated the resiliency of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients and student communities with mixed legal immigration status.

“The ‘Undocumented Student Week of Action’ actually started in community colleges as a week-long event to empower and uplift our undocumented students,” said senior Yvette Perez, social media student assistant at the DREAM Center.

“We’re also trying to get away from the misconception that every undocumented person has DACA and that every undocumented person is Latino. We serve a lot of students from different backgrounds, as well as students who don’t have social security numbers or work authorization,” said Perez.

This year, a booth and tent were set up with a table filled with colored acrylic pens, paint and a banner that was stenciled with the words, “Migration is Beautiful: What Empowers You?”

Neha Salria, a CSUN student, receives a gift bag for participating in the “Undocumented Student Week of Action” at CSUN in Northridge, Calif., on Oct. 17, 2022. This year’s “Undocumented Student Week of Action” advocated for policy changes to help students achieve educational goals and economic growth. (William Franco Espinosa)

During the event, which ran from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., students came and signed the banner by answering the question, “What empowers you?” They could also use the art supplies available to paint something on the banner or fill in the stenciled words.

First-year international student Neha Salria believes these events are incredibly important.

“I believe that CSUN should do more big events for undocumented and international students that focus on finding job and internship opportunities,” said Salria, a public health major. “That’s why I’m excited about the event on Wednesday. Things like this really help.”

On Oct. 19, the DREAM Center held another workshop on getting internships and fellowships as a student living without legal status. For their final event on Oct. 20, the DREAM Center offered a creative outlet for students by hosting a zine workshop. Zines are small, usually handmade magazines or booklets which are filled with artwork.

On Oct. 18, the center held a virtual workshop on getting lawful status for families, led by CARECEN’s College Legal Services. CARECEN provides immigration legal services to California State Universities and community college campuses. It was founded in 1983 by Central American refugees in an effort to help win legal status for immigrants and foster community activism, according to their website.

“These events help combat imposter syndrome, which a lot of our undocumented folks feel, by having community building events,” said Perez. “These events also allow other students to find friends and sometimes even their chosen family.”

Last year the event was held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, which made this year the first in-person “Undocumented Student Week of Action.”