UndocuWeek Engages Immigration Issues

This week, the Center for Service and Community Engagement and the Cross Cultural Center have teamed up to sponsor SLU’s second ever UndocuWeek, a week-long series of events aimed at bringing awareness to the issues and circumstances surrounding immigration in the United States. 

The first UndocuWeek, held in 2019, brought students from all corners of campus together to discuss the challenges that undocumented migrants face due to their status and the state of the immigration system, an ever-increasingly hot-button topic in today’s society. 

For their second annual UndocuWeek, the events were planned and put together by a team of students and SLU Community members including sophomore Andrea Somoza, who is the President of the Caribbean and Latin-American Student Association, junior Grace Kanary, sophomore Joanna Williams, as well as seniors Marissa Ornelas and Jibril Muhammad, both of whom were involved in planning and creating the first UndocuWeek. 

This year’s theme is centered around “Bridging the Gap: Distributing the Tools for Community Empowerment.” According to Joanna Williams, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences and an intern with the Center for Service and Community Engagement, the theme is focused on “how attendees to the events can go beyond hearing stories or doing service and start to think deeply about what it means for a community to be empowered, and what different individuals can contribute to that empowerment.”

The first event, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, was Chisme y Comida, meaning “gossip and food.” The event was an opportunity for students to share food together and have a discussion about “community empowerment with the immigrant community as a focus.” 

On Wednesday, CALSA hosted an event called “Barriga Llena, Corazon Contenta” which means “full stomach, happy heart.” This was another event where members of the SLU Community could share food, potluck style and engage in conversations with one another over the topic of immigration. 

On Thursday, the keynote address will be given by Carolina Rubio Macwright, and the following day Macwright will host a Know Your Rights workshop. Macwright was born in Bogota, Columbia, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 20, where she went to art school and then law school. Macwright works as an immigration lawyer, an artist and an activist focusing on immigrant and humanitarian rights. She blends her talents and passions together in ways that reach those in need the most. For example, Macwright has developed workshops that “mix legal rights empowerment and hands-on experimental arts mediums, such as clay and cooking.” 

By bringing together different groups of people through hands-on and artistic expressions, Macwright and all of the Week’s hostsare able to educate and empower participants of their workshops.