DREAMers on Grounds and Sigma Lambda Upsilon — a Latina sorority — hosted their fourth annual DREAM Week, a week full of activities throughout Grounds to promote advocacy and support for the undocumented and immigrant community at the University and beyond. The week ended today.
Around 100 participants are estimated to have to participated in DREAM Week events this year, which consisted of a social media campaign, UndocuAlly training with Second Year Council and a lecture on immigration and sexual abuse. UndocuAlly training provided an opportunity for educators and peers to develop and enhance their working knowledge regarding undocumented student populations at the University. Sexual abuse training consisted of a discussion on the sensitive topics of domestic violence and intimate partner violence in immigrant communities, as well as the sexual assault of immigrants at and on the way to the U.S. border.
According to Katherine Sobá, a fourth-year Curry student and president of DREAMers on Grounds, the programming and events for DREAM Week are all discussed and chosen by the members of DREAMers on Grounds’ executive board. In prior years, DREAM Week has consisted of events including open mics, a photography art walk, an intercollegiate conference and political rallies.
“The community at UVA is generally supportive and welcoming towards this event, however we always do face some students who question the struggles of undocumented peoples, and who always may convey a lack of empathy towards such struggles,” Sobá said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily. “This is our fourth annual DREAM week, so I like to believe that with every year the support and acceptance from the community gets larger and larger.”
Additionally, SLU partnered with DREAMers on Grounds during this week because it fell around the same time that they host their Señorita Week, a week of events that celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of SLU at the University in 2013. The theme of this year’s week is “The Future is Female,” honoring strong women leaders in the past and present and reflecting on how female leaders have the power to shape the future.
According to Angie Aramayo, a fourth-year College student and the president of SLU, the sorority reached out to Sobá in order to collaborate on an event that could use their knowledge of influential women within the DREAMers communities that push for social justice in different spaces.
“DREAM Week is important because it allows students to become more aware of the laws, policies, struggles, and experiences the undocumented individuals have to go through,” Aramayo said in an email. “It also raises awareness of the misconceptions and highlights the reality undocumented individuals face. Latinx students at UVA also enjoy this week because they have the opportunity to become UndocuAlly trained, express their support for this community, and learn how to teach others about the importance of DREAMers of Grounds.”
According to Aramayo, the past week has been especially important because it allowed students to become more aware of the laws, policies, struggles and experiences the undocumented individuals have to go through. It also raised awareness of the misconceptions and highlights the reality undocumented individuals face.
“From financial obstacles to lack of resources to deportation, imagine if you lived in constant fear that you could be deported at any moments. Imagine going through college without being able to see your parents because they got deported,” Aramayo said.