By Rachel Waymel, Assistant Professor of English, Undergraduate College
Joining with college students across the nation, National Louis University participants championed immigrants on October 24, the third annual day of action for the national #IStandWithImmigrants group.
NLU’s Wheeling campus was filled with delicious food, music, and conversations as students, faculty and staff took part. The day of action is part of #IAmAnImmigrant’s year-long initiative to recognize and celebrate contributions that immigrants have made and continue to make to the U.S. The student organization Educators Rising, an NLU chapter of the national group by the same name that focuses on preparing future educators, learned about the day of action and quickly decided to participate in the event.
The student leaders of NLU’s Educators Rising chapter were one of the first 50 student groups to register with the #IAmAnImmigrant organization for the event; ultimately over 170 universities around the country participated. The president of NLU’s Educators Rising, Marilyn Gutierrez (’21), said, “I decided to join this day of action because I feel like immigrants are important to the US. Without them, we would not be a country. As a Hispanic [person] I’m a great supporter of immigrants and DACA so it meant a lot to me to be able to stand with them on that special day.”
To celebrate, the students decided to host a lunch for the entire Wheeling campus and serve food from the various countries that are represented in our NLU community. Student members of Educators Rising offered several different dishes, including chicken tinga, arroz con leche, Croatian apple salad, matzo, picadillio (a Filipino ground beef dish), Italian candies, lokum (Turkish Delight), and rice balls wrapped in seaweed. In addition, Yomira Sarmiento (’22) performed Mexican baile folklórico and led interested students, faculty, and staff in dances that reflect more contemporary Mexican-American traditions. Daisy Chavez (Library and Learning Services) presented a rich collection of titles held by the NLU Library collection that are either written by immigrants or about the immigrant experience.
Students, staff and faculty alike shared posts on social media with the hashtag #IStandWithImmigrants to connect with participants across the country, and the students in Educators Rising ran a social media contest to award t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan. The national head of Educators Rising highlighted our NLU chapter’s event on their Twitter account, praising them for using their voice to educate and build unity. The event gave the various students and departments on campus a chance to come together and learn about each other while enjoying familiar and new foods.
Photos by Rachael Judson and Rachel Waymel