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Undocumented Student Week of Action raises awareness, highlights human dignity

| Monday, April 12, 2021

Last week’s Undocumented Student Week of Action sponsored by DreamND and the Office of Student Enrichment displayed support and offered resources for students who are undocumented or part of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). 

Christin Kloski, project coordinator at the Office of Student Enrichment, who works year round to ensure DACA and undocumented students are supported, said she and her colleagues planned Undocumented Student Action Week to raise awareness and humanize the issue.

“Undocumented Student Week of Action is a week of events that promise to raise awareness and humanize conversations about immigration and undocumented identities, showcase a variety of scholarship, advocacy and resources on our campus and promote the ‘spirit of diversity and inclusion’ on our campus,” Kloski said in an email.

The week began Monday with a Campus Ministry prayer service that took place around the Holy Family Statue on Bond Quad. Director of Campus Ministry Fr. Pete McCormick spoke at the service, emphasizing human dignity.

In an interview with The Observer, McCormick spoke about the words he shared at the prayer service, saying human dignity should far outweigh documentation.

“One of the points that I made at the prayer service is that we don’t start as men and women of faith about what documents people do or do not have,” McCormick said. “We start with inherent dignity.”

He also said this week is important for the Notre Dame community because it is important to care for those on the margins of society.

“Whenever we have moments in which we recognize that the dignity of another human is not cared for, it is our responsibility to call that out and to draw attention to a better way,” McCormick said.  

After the prayer service, more events took place throughout the week. Tuesday offered an opportunity for a virtual pause for a breath Zoom session in the afternoon and a lecture on hyperdocumentation in the evening by Aurora Chang, a former undocumented immigrant turned hyperdocumented professor. 

Students had one final opportunity to participate in the week’s events through an enrichment series seminar on the Mexico-U.S. border held Wednesday on Zoom.

DreamND, one of the sponsors of the Undocumented Student Action Week, is an organization committed to highlighting diversity and inclusion on campus.

Unlike the 2019 Undocumented Student Action Week, this year’s featured more events on Zoom, Kloski said.

Despite offering more virtual activities this year, Kloski said she is hopeful for more in-person events in the future and pleased with the support for this year’s Undocumented Student Week of Action.

“My favorite experience from the week is seeing all of the support from campus for our DreamND community,” Kloski wrote. “Faculty, staff and students join in the events from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College and Holy Cross College, and it creates a sense of community and support.”

Kloski said Notre Dame students should care about this cause, even beyond Undocumented Student Action Week.

“At the University of Notre Dame, we are committed to assembling a community of talented individuals regardless of their backgrounds, financial circumstances or national origins,” Kloski said. “We ask that students continue to become advocates for their fellow peers and to continue to learn and raise awareness on conversations about immigration.”

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