To demonstrate the significance immigrants hold to the U.S. economy, on Thursday, Feb. 16, immigrants and allies united in a nationwide boycott focusing on the impact immigrants have on our daily lives. Supporters were asked to stay home from work and school, and withhold from shopping.
“I’ve organized events before, but not this type of event where I have to sit down like ‘these are my beliefs and this is why I’m doing this,’ said LBCC Diversity Achievement Center student staff member and organizer of the Albany campus sit-out Melisa Lopez, prior to the event.
In support of A Day Without Immigrants, students Lopez, Jessica Sandoval, Marta Nunez, Sara Contreras H., and Hugo Chavez, together with Latino Outreach & Retention Specialist Maria Solis-Camarena and Department of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Director Javier Cervantes convened together at a table in front of the SLC building to educate students on the Day Without Immigrants.
“At the very minimum, it will be a chance for students to engage. If they want to, they can. I think there needs to be some visible representation of who people are,” said Cervantes.
Being a documented citizen, Lopez says she hasn’t personally been affected, but she knows people whose lives have been and wants to show support.
“There’s been cases in Oregon where they’re [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] taking immigrants back to Mexico, we just wanted to do this so people know that we actually contribute a lot to the country, the economy, the school, everything,” said Lopez.
Included at the table were statistics detailing how immigrants affect the American economy, and what could be lost if they were not around.
“Javier was like: ‘If you stay home, no one’s going to notice that you’re just home. So what if you just come to school, don’t go to class, bring your own lunch, don’t buy anything, just get a table and put a sign up that says ‘A Day Without Immigration: Ask Me Why I didn’t Go To Class,’” said Lopez.
Working at the DAC has been a great advantage for Lopez, who believes LBCC has been doing a great job at making others feel safe, by having a space that contributes to unity and diversity on campus.
“I just want people to know we can stand up for ourselves,” said Lopez. “I consider myself an immigrant, even though I’m here legally. I was born in Mexico and immigrated here. We’re representing people all over.”
Story by Alyssa Campbell
Photos by Elliot Pond