Hosted at the LBJ Museum of San Marcos on the Square, the first day of the three-week series held two dialogues, with the first on DACA, DREAMers and SB4, and the second on immigration and intersectionality. The event welcomed community members, activists, professors and students.
lowing for the audience to communicate with the panel to receive advice and help.
To begin the first dialogue, panelists Jose Caceres, member of the University Leadership Initiative and Michelle Sotolongo, adviser to the Texas State Student Community of Progressive Empowerment said DACA and DREAMers are in need of a permanent solution to allow them to stay in the country.
Sotolongo, a panelist for DFA and full-time employee at the Honors College, as well as a facilitator and co-advisor for SCOPE, said this was her second year participating in the DFA event.
“I’m really happy that we had the opportunity to do it this year again,” Sotolongo said. “I’m glad about the turnout; I didn’t really have expectations. I was happy to hear other people’s take on it and new information.”
The second session’s panel included Sulma Franco of Grassroots Leadership, Yunuen Alvarado of SCOPE and immigration attorney Leonardo De La Garza, who all shared advice and personal experiences on facing immigration issues. They also mentioned the lack of awareness for the LGBTQ+ community’s struggle in detention centers and in Latin America all-around.
Panelist Franco said immigrant-students should stay away from committing felonies, as it could create advanced legal complications. She also advised students to keep documentation that speaks to their achievements in the country, like letters of recommendation, student identification and other documentation to prove legitimacy.
“For the people who are with DACA, the best way for them to get out of the shadows is to create a movement,” Franco said. “Be activists, because if there’s no movement and there’s no activism, the immigration community will never gain strength.”
Sabrina Olivarez, a graduate student at Texas State, said the dialogue was extremely helpful.
“They talked about the things that they’ve been doing, the resources available in the community,” Olivarez said. “I think they’re really trying to mobilize and empower people with information.”
There will be two more DFA sessions following the June 8 one. The other two sessions are scheduled for Friday, June 15, and Friday, June 22 at 9:00 a.m. The dialogues will discuss education, gentrification and housing.