The day after President Amy Gutmann declared Penn a “sanctuary” for undocumented students, Penn for Immigrant Rights held a walk-out initially intended to urge Gutmann to guarantee such protections.
Students gathered on College Green Thursday afternoon to “celebrate the announcement of Amy Gutmann and show solidarity for all undocumented immigrants,” Daisy Romero, College senior and co-chair of Penn for Immigrant Rights, said.
Speakers thanked attendees for supporting their letter and petition urging Gutmann to take action. However, they emphasized that there is still unfinished work needed to protect undocumented immigrants.
“The fight is not over,” Romero said.
Several undocumented students shared their stories in defiance of the social stigma against undocumented immigrants.
“It is important to empower undocumented students to step out of the shadows,” College senior Sylvia Huerta said.
Penn for Immigrant Rights noted that Gutmann failed to acknowledge their request to meet with her. Even after her statement, College freshman Erik Vargas thought that certain details still needed to be clarified.
“We’re trying to get a consensus. No one really knows what a ‘sanctuary campus’ is,” he said.
Penn for Immigrant Rights also mentioned their work with other schools, such as Drexel University, to share strategies to protect undocumented students and give them a platform to advocate for similar protections at their schools.
Speakers at the walk-out emphasized solidarity with undocumented immigrants who are still unprotected and with other marginalized groups that could be affected by a Trump presidency.
“I thought that the event was really great because it was not just about supporting undocumented students on campus, but about supporting the undocumented community across the country,” Sociology professor Amada Armenta said.
Throughout the walk-out, the speakers praised the diverse and numerous attendees. There was an emphasis on the importance of such allies’ solidarity with disenfranchised groups.
“We want to stand with undocumented students not in a patronizing way, but because we stand with them,” Armenta said.
After the event, Penn for Immigrant Rights encouraged attendees to call senators to express support for sanctuary cities and immigration reform.
Vargas also urged allies to be active bystanders and speak out against racist comments.
“Allyship goes beyond safety pins,” Vargas said.
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