At LaGuardia Community College, Visiting Fulbright Scholar Steven Gilbers discusses African-American English through the comparison of East Coast and West Coast hip-hop. In a classroom filled with students and professors, Mr. Gilbers proceeds to break down hip-hop culture and the importance of authenticity in the hip-hop community. “Another crucial part of hip-hop culture is this […]
Both students and faculty all gather in the Poolside Cafe with the same objective — to gain control of their city once more.
On Friday, March 17th, a group of student activists and faculty members all gathered in the E-atrium Poolside Cafe, waiting to be heard and to share their message with the rest of the immigrants and supporting faculty and students. The began by addressing the unfortunate aftermath of President Donald Trump’s executive order increasing the power of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
Besides speaking on the order, both Urban Studies Professors Karen Miller and Arianna Martinez arranged for English Professors Laura Tanenbaum, Bethany Holmstorm and Sonia Rodriguez to speak out on the people that will be affected and the multiple ways that LaGuardia Community College can assist with the rising law. One of the many ideas that came across at the meeting was making LAGCC become a sanctuary for immigrants that seek guidance and safety from potential misconduct.
By pushing for a local school Sanctuary, their overall goal is to “make people more aware of what’s going on and invite people to get involved and get active” said Professor Martinez, one of the many faculty members in the sanctuary. Professor Miller, another faculty member and a part of this coalition, chimed in by saying, “We are trying to build [an] initiative together, pushing for the college to become a sanctuary. Letting people know that we support them.”
When asked whether or not there were any negative encounters while building this initiative together, they stated “People have been supportive.” As for the long term goals of this coalition, Professor Miller said they seek “to produce a culture of support on campus for faculty, staff, students etc…and to participate in political activity that goes against administrative policy, that goes against LGBTQ, anyone not of [the] white man culture.”
Representatives of the sanctuary currently are looking to make student data in the CUNY system more discreet and increase access to immigration lawyers. Professor Rodriguez also gave updates on the multiple organizations that are trying to achieve the same goals around town and how everyone might get involved. When asked what they wish to accomplish with this coalition, Professor Tannenbaum says they want to “build a sanctuary on campus for anyone who might be vulnerable to harassment with the new political regime.”
CUNY has been known for their acceptance of undocumented students, or so it says on their website. It seems that majority of their colleges have also began participating in building their very own initiatives or sanctuaries. ough, by law, this is not an official CUNY initiative and Professor Miller said “We are not forcing policies on colleges, but instead, producing a culture or community within them. We want to infuse rights training and infuse them in the curriculum for college.”
Another topic that came across the meeting was broken windows policing, “an approach to law enforcement based on the theory that cracking down on minor crimes helps to prevent major ones”, according to The Economist. The speakers explain how this may link back to the sanctuary and in the words of Professor Martinez, “the police target and arrest people for low-level offenses, funneling people into a process that can result in deportation.”
Professor Rodriguez brought to everyone’s attention that the word “illegal” immigrant was being thrown around in an unmannerly way. When describing those in need of help caused by the new executive order, Professor. Rodriguez suggested everyone begin saying undocumented citizen instead.
To conclude their meeting, its organizers split everyone into groups; students with students, faculty with faculty and coalition members with each other. When attempting to speak with the coalition members, they declined to comment. There is a lyric from the well known song “Where is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas. “Can you practice what you preach or will you turn the other cheek?” Fairness and equality is what America preaches and the LaGuardia community refuses to turn the other cheek.