Monarchs raise awareness of immigration issues through ‘Undocuweek’


Christine Sanchez

Monarchs on the Hilltop hosted several events surrounding immigrant rights.

Monarchs on the Hilltop observed national I Stand With Immigrants Day of Action by setting up a mural in the Ragsdale Center on Oct. 24. The mural bore the words “I stand with immigrants because…” and was decorated with sticky notes that anyone could write on to share their support for immigrants.

With the separation of immigrant families at the border earlier this year, the topic of immigration has been very prominent in the United States. Many undocumented people and those residing in the United States through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, are still unsure of what their future may look like under the current administration. The purpose of Day of Action is to show immigrants that they are not alone.

Monarchs decided to celebrate the so-called ‘Undocuweek’ to show support for immigrants and stretch out that support and awareness over the course of the week instead of just one day.

The mural was set up in the Ragsdale Center and remained there until Oct. 28. Joseph Ramirez, senior Biology major and President of Monarchs, said the mural in Ragsdale was a “visual show supporting the immigrant community on campus.”

The events of Undocuweek included the mural and a song release by senior Josue Damian-Martinez, which was released on Facebook on Friday, Oct. 26. In his song, Martinez describes his personal journey as an immigrant.

Vice president Jose Garibay-Medrano described his amazement at the crowd that attended the murals unveiling.

“That was something we’ve wanting to do for a long time now. I think [the mural] shows undocumented students that they’re not alone on campus, though a lot of the time it can feel that way, that’s just not true. There are a lot of people supporting [undocumented students] on campus.”

Garibay mentioned how his experience as a freshman led him to advocate for and work to help the immigrant community.

“When I got to St. Edward’s, I wasn’t sure where I could go to ask questions, or what kinds of questions I could ask,” Garibay said. “That’s one of the biggest things that [Monarchs] can help bring to students, giving them the access to those resources. It’s been really cool to see the way that we’re leaving an imprint on people’s minds.”

One faculty member who showed her support was Assistant Professor of Social Work, Laurie Cook Heffron. She jotted down her message of support for immigrants, which read “Migration is a human right.” She says she stopped by Ragsdale on Wednesday because she knew that Monarchs was showcasing their mural and because It’s On Us, a student organization on campus that raises awareness on sexual violence, was going to be tabling for their upcoming events as well.

“These are two things that intersect my work. I work with immigrant survivors of violence and folks detained in immigration centers. I just want to support students,” Heffron said. “The student community is really active on both of these issues in a way that’s super important and that needs support from faculty.”

Monarchs on the Hilltop was started last year by Ramirez and Garibay. The two started the club in order for undocumented students have a space where they feel accepted and supported. Martinez says he wants to “continue to build a community” on campus through the organization.

Both students recall one of their first events, when people from the campus community gathered around Sorin Oak to show support for immigrant voices. Garibay mentions that this event “gave [Monarchs] the drive” to continue putting on more events, and that the club has only grown since then.

“To see all of that support and to see all of those people, it was really big. I think it was a really cool event to see, especially it being our first one.”

Ramirez and Garibay are set to graduate soon, and they are currently planning for the future of the club and what it could be under new leadership.