Standing outside of a booth set up in the middle of the quad with a clipboard and voter registration, Brenda Carillo, 24, psychology major, encouraged students to register to vote and write to local legislators as a part of the first event in California’s Community College Undocumented Student Week of Action on Oct. 14.
Carillo immigrated from Mexico when she was nine with her family as an undocumented child, with hopes of a better life. However, when she arrived in the U.S., she realized that her family’s hopes were not the reality, as legislation prevented them from living their dream lives.
“To come somewhere where it’s supposed to be safe and you’re supposed to be heard and listened to, and see that it’s not perfect, it’s a little heartbreaking,” she said.
The Trump administration has proposed numerous restrictions on undocumented immigrants such as placing them in detention centers, erecting a wall at the U.S-Mexico border, and conducting raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
For Carillo, participating in the event allowed her to make others aware of the political climate affecting her and other undocumented immigrants.
Other student volunteers joined Carillo in the effort to gain voters and encourage political activity. They also acknowledged that members in the community were directly affected by policies enacted against undocumented immigrants.
“A lot of students may have friends or even teachers or people in general who kind of go through these particular issues,” said Miguel Lira, 19, political science major. “ If they are aware, or know about these issues they could totally be able to help. It’s the most helpful thing.”
Volunteers also prompted other students to be allies to undocumented immigrants and urged them to be active in their local communities.
“Unfortunately for a lot of us who are undocumented, we don’t get a say, so we definitely need allies and people who use their privilege to help make for a more just world,” said Carillo.
The event concluded after three hours of advocating for the importance of voting and political awareness, with a strong message of how much each vote matters.
“We’re trying to show that we can help lift up their voices,” said Carillo. “Because they do matter.”