Students organizing against “hate rhetoric” at UIC after immigration flyer vandalized

A response to the "illegals" vandalism

A group of UIC students are organizing an event in response to an incident last week where a pro-immigrant flyer at the university was vandalized with the words “f—ing illegals.”

Third-year UIC student Yaxal Sobrevilla hung a poster at the Latino Cultural Center on campus last week to promote National Coming out of the Shadows Month at UIC.

Last Wednesday, Sobrevilla was informed by the Cultural Center that the poster had been vandalized.

Sobrevilla said she doesn’t know who defaced the poster, but thinks “it clearly was somebody who was against undocumented people.”

“I wasn’t surprised because I know that a lot of people still are close-minded about the issue,” Sobrevilla said. “But I was somewhat surprised that it was on campus where we’re supposed to be more open-minded.”

At the same time, she was surprised that the person “had the guts to do it there,” near the cultural center’s office and a classroom. It’s a heavy traffic area, Sobrevilla noted.

“I thought he must have really wanted to say something because he took the risk of being caught,” Sobrevilla said, “especially in a place that’s really supportive of immigrants.”

National Coming out of the Shadows Month started in Chicago in 2010, when undocumented young folks declared themselves “undocumented and unafraid” before a march at Federal Plaza, according to the Immigrant Youth Justice League.

The events will begin this Friday at the Broadview Detention Center, where “undocumented immigrants will share stories of detention, deportation, organizing, and survival.”

For a full roster of events, click here.

Coming out of the Shadows Month is being organized by a new organization called “Undocumented Illinois,” Sobrevilla said.

Latino Cultural Center Director Rosa Cabrera said her organization responded to the vandalism incident last week “by immediately convening” a group of student leaders.

“The students agree that this should serve as an opportunity to seek more [allies] on campus and as a result they are announcing a series of programs to expand understanding around immigration and undocumented families,” Cabrera said in an email.

For Sobrevilla, who has been living in the United States for 16 and a half years (she came here when she was four and recently received Deferred Action), it’s important to confront “hate language” like the vandalism on her poster.

“It takes the humanity away from the community so it makes it easier for people to discriminate against that population,” Sobrevilla said.

The students at UIC will hold an event on campus March 7, which you can see here. Latino Cultural Center Director Cabrera also sent us a list of several ally support events that are coming up, which are appended at the end of this article.

The students are also calling on UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares to denounce the vandalism as well and plan to email her today.

University spokesman Bill Burton said he had nothing to add to Cabrera’s statement.

Ally Events:

- Wednesday March 6th from 3:30 to 5pm
at the Latino Cultural Center LCB2
Zona Abierta- UndocuLove: Families, Relationships, and the U.S. immigration System

-Thursday March 7th from 3:30 to 5pm at the Latino Cultural Center LCB2

Discussion: Out of the Shadows into the Streets w/ IYJL & L@YAL- Sunday March 10th at 11am March from Union Plaza to Federal Plaza & at 12noon National Coming out of the Shadows Rally- Monday March 11th at the Gender and Sexuality Center outside BSB, Exhibit Opening I Define Myself: Undocumented and Unafraid Portrait Project

-Tuesday March 12th from 3:30 to 5pm at the Latino Cultural Center LCB2
Civic Cinema- Screening of Oscar winner documentary  ”Inocente” with dialogue facilitated by student leaders

(This article has been edited to reflect the following correction: Sobrevilla has been in the United States for 16 1/2 years, not 15 1/2 years. We regret the error.)


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Gregory Pratt es contribuidor Vívelohoy

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