Undocumented students express themselves through workshop at CSUSB
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- An opportunity for undocumented students and community members in the Inland Empire to openly tell their story took place March 7 in the Visual Arts building at CSUSB.
Put on by the student-run media conglomerate, The Coyote Pack, the art expo was well received. Distinguished guests included English professor and poet Juan Delgado and Chair of Communication Studies Michael Salvador.
Participants at the workshop had several options to choose from when it came to how they wanted to create. Those options included the mediums of newspaper, art canvases, and an open mic for live performances.
Taking a moment in a nearby room, poet Juan Delgado talked about the importance of the event.
“I think it’s important to support our students,” said Delgado, “and we’re about our students. We wouldn’t have a university without our students.”
Given that CSUSB has a strong demographic of latino students, the university has become a focal point of conversation when the topic becomes potential safe spaces as well as how undocumented students can speak out and share their own stories.
Student Aidee Lambaren talked about why an art event matters to her.
“For me it’s a way to express feelings that I have or a way to express some things that I’m not able to express via words, you know, it’s different,” said Lambaren.
The coordinator for the Dreamer’s Resource Center on campus, identifying herself only as Maria, spoke on how her role in helping undocumented students is on a daily basis.
“I feel like I play many roles for [the students]. One of them being the one who brings that peace to them and whenever they’re feeling a lot of anxiety and things like that, I’m the one that they come to.”
Having a place where those roles aren’t on just one person means a world of difference for students.
Art major Eddie Perez Pena spoke on his favorite part of the event.
“My favorite part was painting myself, to be honest. I haven’t painted in quite some time but I really like that a bunch of people came together to help out the dreamers by being part of a creative process and utilizing the arts,” said Pena, “having that perspective of an artist coming from you emotionally and spiritually and getting connected to the art side. Not just by doing a go fund me account or nacho sale.”
Providing a space for undocumented students and community members is important, but encouraging those on the outside looking in to be active and standing in solidarity with those directly affected means even more.
Community member Loydie Burmah feels that we all play an instrumental part in shaping our future on an individual level. She also pointed to factors such as campus involvement and support with an emphasis on caring for the student body.
“I’d like to believe that [the university] has done as much as they can already to help undocumented students, but I think the goal is to make sure that the university is doing more,” said Burmah.
With the art expo wrapped up, The Coyote Pack will host a gala in June to promote and auction off the artwork in order to raise funds for their cause.