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Saint Mary’s promotes immigration awareness

Ashley Charnley | Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saint Mary’s La Fuerza, a club representing Latina culture on campus, is holding Action week in order “to create awareness about the realities of immigration in the U.S.,” said club vice president Brianda Salas, a sophomore.

The first event held Monday was a viewing of the film “Papers,” which is “a documentary about undocumented youth and the challenges they face as they turn 18 and graduate high school without legal status,” Salas said.

The week will continue with a bilingual mass in Le Mans Hall’s Holy Spirit Chapel at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

On Thursday, La Fuerza will host Immigration Monologues, which will be “a short presentation about the myths and facts about immigration, followed by the real-life stories of individuals who have gone through the struggles of life as an immigrant and other similar stories,” Salas said.

Salas said La Fuerza will also host guest speaker Enrique Morones, the founder of Border Angels.

Salas said Border Angels is a non-profit organization made of volunteers who work to stop unnecessary deaths of individuals who travel through the Imperial Valley dessert areas and the mountain areas surrounding San Diego County.

Morones will deliver a lecture on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Vander Vennet Theater. Though the lecture will not be part of Action Week, it is related to its message, she said.

 “We believe that by bringing Enrique Morones, it will enhance the Saint Mary’s College mission of commitment for social justice as well as promote student activism,” Salas said. “We not only wish to raise awareness, we want to promote action.”

Salas said she hopes these events will help break down existing stereotypes and misconceptions about immigration.

“La Fuerza wants to dispel those myths by presenting facts and real-life stories that will draw our audience closer to the realities of immigration and how it affects everyone and anyone regardless of migratory status,” Salas said.

The week as a whole is only part of the group’s mission to bring knowledge to campus about Latina Culture.

“As a group, we want to promote diversity and cultural education on our campus and the community,” Salas said. “With this event, we believe we are doing just that, educating the campus on immigration not just through opinions but facts.”

Salas said the club does not discriminate and embraces all cultures and backgrounds.
“We welcome anybody, not just Latinas,” Salas said. “Everyone is welcomed to become a member of La Fuerza and share their uniqueness through La Fuerza.”