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Club discusses immigration

Mona Rodriguez | Friday, March 25, 2011

In support of its Action Week, the La Fuerza club at Saint Mary’s College screened the film “Dying to Live” and initiated discussion on immigration Thursday.

The film, which was produced by Notre Dame associate professor of theology Fr. Daniel Groody, focused on the hardships immigrants to the United States face, La Fuerza president Brianda Salas said. Groody, who also serves as director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at Notre Dame, led the discussion following the film screening.

“We decided to get Groody to speak because he’s the producer of ‘Dying to Live,’ and his mission is to create awareness about the struggles immigrants face,” La Fuerza vice president Denise Lopez said.

Salas said Groody’s personal mission relates directly to that of La Fuerza.

“La Fuerza’s mission is to create awareness about issues that affect our community as a whole,” Salas said. “For that reason, we dedicated ‘Knowledge is power, Action is key,’ as our motto for the week.”

Salas said the film tied in with the club’s motto in that it followed immigrants as they traveled the treacherous mountains to get to Arizona. The film also highlighted the reasons people choose to make the dangerous journey, especially the financial benefits and the opportunities for a better life.

“We want people to know there are faces behind immigration,” Salas said.

During the post-film discussion, Groody covered various aspects of immigration, from the importance of accurate education to the magnitude of immigration as a social issue. 

“A number as big as the population of Brazil is migrating. It’s a huge issue,” Groody said. “To dismiss and disregard migrants not only deprives them, but dehumanizes us.”

Groody also tried to dispel myths about immigration during the discussion.

“The Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaughs of the world place an emphasis on people’s fears,” Groody said.

Groody also provided students with advice as to how students can personally address the issues surrounding immigration.

“The first thing is education and the need to dispel immigration myths,” Groody said. “Advocacy and outreach are two other ways to get involved.”

Groody said people should have concerned regard for those who are seen as insignificant in society.

“Anywhere we can recognize the dignity of a human being is the first form of action we can take,” Groody said.

Junior Arianne Rodriguez said the video and discussion were empowering.

“I think it’s important to constantly remind ourselves of the suffering of other people so we can be their voice,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not about politics, it’s about people.”

Sophomore Molly Moskwinski said Jessica Wrobleski, visiting assistant professor of religious studies, uses Groody’s book, “Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice,” to facilitate class discussion on Catholic Social Thought.

“It was great to put a face to the text we’ve been using all year,” Moskwinski said. “Fr. Groody is very well-spoken, and he makes me want to change the world.”

Salas said La Fuerza was happy with the event’s attendance.

“We are grateful for the support at tonight’s event,” Salas said. “It encouraged great dialogue for people who want to know the facts and make a change.”