On Wednesday, Nov. 16 more than 60 students rallied outside of the Center Building at Bristol Square, holding signs and chanting demands to make Lane Community College a safe space for undocumented students. The protest was part of a nationwide movement to declare schools as sanctuary campuses.
Lane ethnic studies and political science major Mariana Sofia Paredones helped put the event together after hearing about the movement taking place at over 180 campuses across the nation. Paredones was born in Sonora, Mexico and raised in Arizona but has lived in Oregon for the past three years.
“We’re trying to promote solidarity for students who are going to be the most vulnerable under a Trump administration and create policy on our campuses that ensures the safety and protection of undocumented and immigrant students,” Paredones said.
As an undocumented student herself, Paredones knows the struggles and anxieties immigrant students face on a daily basis.
“There are a lot of students who are unsure if they even want to continue their education. International students who are questioning their academic future in America,” Paredones said.
Sanctuary campuses materialized out of a national immigrant rights group called Cosecha, that fought for the safety and protection of migrant workers.
LCC president Mary Spilde spoke at the rally about the importance of creating an inclusive environment on campus.
“We will do everything we can to provide a safe learning environment, and we will walk with you in solidarity to protect your right to be a Lane Community College Student,” Spilde said.
Paredones was grateful for attending a school with a supportive president who made it a priority to show up for the rally.
Lane student Emilie Beath felt fortunate to be a part of a movement that strives to protect all students regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or class.
“I believe everyone holds the right to an education and fortunately this walkout proved that LCC students are willing to speak up in regards to the protection of undocumented students,” Beath said.”
Paredones recently presented a list of demands to the Board of Education and was pleased with the immediate feedback from the president and faculty alike. She’s currently making plans for future events on and off campus, as well as continuing a dialogue with organizers across the nation.