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Common experience event sheds light on D.R.E.A.M. Act

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Photo by: Lesly De Leon | Staff Photographer
Steven Stiegelmeyer, known by his stage name Guero Loco, talks to an audience at the event hosted by SCOPE Oct. 19.

The Student Community of Progressive Empowerment hosted an event Monday night to raise awareness of undocumented Texas State students.

The event featured bilingual hip-hop and reggaeton artist Steven Stiegelmeyer, known on stage as Guero Loco.

According to White House’s website, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (D.R.E.A.M.) Act is an American legislative proposal created to give students raised in America by undocumented parents an opportunity to pursue higher education.

S.C.O.P.E. is an organization dedicated to supporting and serving undocumented students.

Multiple organizations, such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Bilingual Education Student Organization, set up tables at the back of the LBJ Ballroom to provide students with information about campus involvement.

Julia Estrada, musical theater sophomore and vice president of LULAC, said the organization became involved in the event because the members support S.C.O.P.E.’s mission.

“I think a huge part of what S.C.O.P.E. does is identify that there are undocumented students at this university,” Estrada said. “And they deserve a say and that they deserve a position in any of these organizations so they can have the opportunity to make the best out of their education.”

The Mexican Consulate in Austin, an embassy that serves Mexicans who have just arrived in the United States, tabled at the event and provided students and visitors with information about its services.

S.C.O.P.E.’s event began with introductions by Elena Barrera, accounting freshman, Flor Sanchez, French senior, and Carlos Hernandez, history senior.

The three students shared their personal stories about coming to Texas from their native countries.

“We’re excited to be telling our stories,” Sanchez said.

Juan Jaimes, consumer affairs senior and co-founder and president of S.C.O.P.E., said the event was important to create awareness of immigrants at the university.

“We hope (students) gain awareness, learn about the issues of the undocumented and see the link these students create with the bridge between the U.S. and Mexico,” Jaimes said.

Stiegelmeyer was introduced by Sirra Reight, accounting junior and vice president of S.C.O.P.E. Stiegelmeyer, an Indianapolis native, learned the Spanish language while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 17 and made a career through performing bilingual music.

Stiegelmeyer now travels throughout the U.S. and Mexico teaching the value of multiculturalism and multilingualism.

He spoke to an audience of 100 students in the LBJ Ballroom about the importance of diverse cultures, education and music.

As a former English as a Second Language teacher, he focused on educational music for students. He rapped two of his songs about the ABCs and verb conjugations in Spanish for the audience.

“Music can be used for so much positive and good,” Stiegelmeyer said.

A bilingual education impacts children in a positive manner, Stiegelmeyer said. English-only education is “unacceptable.”

Being fluent in Spanish has allowed Stiegelmeyer to connect with individuals. His second language has taught him about the issue of immigration, he said.

Stiegelmeyer spoke about his experience of being an advocate for the rights of undocumented students. He worked personally with young undocumented adults.

The rapper talked about the common experience theme, which is centered on building a bridge between the U.S. and Mexico, and how the histories of the countries are connected.

“Try and have empathy and compassion,” Stiegelmeyer said. “Let’s figure out ways we can make a difference and change this crazy world.”

Reight was the one to invite Stiegelmeyer to perform and speak at the S.C.O.P.E. event.

“I was so inspired by everything he said that it just made me want to go out and learn about the D.R.E.A.M. Act,” Reight said. “It was from there that I was able to get involved with the Indiana undocumented youth alliance and learn more about what Hispanics and Latinos had to go through in my community.”