(Photo: Maggie Lacy)
It’s not often that a single on-campus event can draw attendees from the Regis College Office of the Academic Dean, the Psychology and Neuroscience Department, RUSGA, the Center for Service Learning, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Academic Internship Program, the Career Center, the RCHP Master’s in Counseling Program, the Office of the Provost, and outside community members. However, on March 15 over thirty individuals from all across the Regis community gathered together in Claver 315 for the Spirituality and Social Justice Committee’s event “Education on Immigration: A Call to Action.” The event, organized by senior Crystal Ayala, aimed to educate on current immigration policies, community actions, and how Regis can support immigrants.
First, community organizer Tania Valenzuela spoke about her experiences as an undocumented immigrant. Valenzuela graduated from Regis in 2011 with a degree in sociology. During her time at Regis, she worked to create more awareness for the issues that undocumented students face.
“There were instances when I came to class not knowing what my space was. Obviously, my education was super important to me, and I wanted to be there, learning” Valenzuela said of her experience at Regis,, “But it’s hard to be sitting and trying to learn when there’s all this other stuff working against my presence in this country. It’s draining that I have to daily justify my existence, and my right to be here.”
Next, Jordan T. Garcia from the American Friends Service Committee geared the conversation toward community organizing around immigration issues at Regis.
According to Garcia, “The people that are most impacted by any kind of oppression are the best position to define their liberation [. . .] They are also in the best position to describe the specifics of their oppression. I’m not an immigrant. What I can do is figure out how to lift voices of people who are trying to define their liberation.”
Garcia facilitated a group brainstorming session of tangible actions can be taken at Regis, as well as potential issues that Regis should address. The group expressed interest in changing the culture of Regis so that more undocumented students feel comfortable, making “Know Your Rights” resources and trainings available, and increasing conversations around immigrant rights in classrooms. Although Regis has decided against declaring itself as a sanctuary campus due to potential revocation of federal aid, the group discussed how we can cultivate the feeling of a sanctuary campus.
Additionally, Valenzuela and Garcia encouraged attendees to support a Colorado state legislation proposal entitled House Bill 1206, which would allow undocumented immigrants the ability to obtain a driver’s license by presenting taxpayer documents. Another way to support immigrants is by donating to or volunteering with the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that promotes immigrants’ rights.
If you would like to get involved in undocumented immigrants’ issues at Regis, the Office of Cultural Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence holds meetings around these issues in their office every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. in Room 124 of the Coors Life Direction Center. Additionally, professionals in the office are available to speak with undocumented students in need of support.
Maggie Lacy Staff Reporter
For online immigration resources, please visit:
To read HR 1206, the proposal to allow undocumented immigrants the ability to obtain a driver’s license by presenting taxpayer documents, visit:
To read the Statement of AJCU Presidents on Undocumented Students, visit: