DACA recipients plea for action

Tai Jackson, Staff Reporter

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The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) exhibit lights were dimmed, and peaceful sounds of the rainforest played in the background. A wall was filled with origami butterflies in shades of yellow, orange, and brown. A large drawing of an orange butterfly was placed in the middle of the wall with the paper butterflies surrounding it.

Another wall projected a video of a peaceful march held by CWU students who chanted and walked around the campus in support of  DACA students. In the middle of the exhibit was a large wall covered with small bowls; each bowl was painted gold inside.

The back of the exhibit designated a peaceful sitting area for students to come and sit while they enjoy the sounds of the rainforest. The sitting area didn’t have typical chairs, but instead large blow-up balloon air bags for groups of people to sit on.

Testimonies from DACA students hung on the wall. Visitors could read about the students’ past experiences dealing with immigration.

What is DACA?

DACA is an immigration policy that was put into place in 2012 under the Obama administration. It allows children  who entered the country 16 years of age and younger to remain in the country. Individuals in the program receive a renewable two-year visa, receive a social security number, work and attend school (but are unable to receive federal aid). However, under the President Trump’s administration, current DACA students are worried about what will happen to them and their families if this program is terminated.

The Exhibit

Keely Antoon, gallery attendant and sophomore majoring in art education, explained that the setup process for the DACA exhibit took about a week and a half. Antoon has been in this position for the past two years and has been part of every exhibit since she started.

She explained that different clubs on campus were active in  getting this specific exhibit set up. Antoon stated that this was the first exhibit she was a part of that involved other groups on campus, helping with the setup process and the actual art itself. Her favorite part of the exhibit was the MEChA butterfly wall, but she also loved the installation class’s art piece that involved the wall full of painted bowls.

“The idea behind the exhibit is for students, specifically DACA students, to have a place to go where they can relax and not think about all the politics currently going on. It’s really supposed to be a peaceful place for them to hangout and calm down from the day,” Antoon said.

Rory Hollick and her sister Maggie Hollick, juniors, both majoring in art studies, attended the exhibit opening day. Rory explained that they decided to come to the exhibit because they thought it was a good idea to see what other artists were doing.

“We don’t see too many artists’ work, so we should take the opportunity when we get a chance to see them,” Maggie Hollick said.

They agreed that they both loved the inclusion in students and how the artwork could be hands on while giving students a place to relax.

“I really loved the monarch butterfly art piece, it catches your attention. It goes with the idea of immigration on how the monarchs themselves do the flight across into South America,” Rory Hollick said.

Both sisters explained that they enjoyed how this exhibit sparks interest in DACA. They liked that this exhibit brings awareness to important issues, and also explained how this exhibit allows a person the chance to determine for themselves what is happening in the world, while specifically bringing awareness on the topic of DACA to various college students who know little about it.

“Everyone is used to going day-by-day that they may not know much about this topic,” Maggie Hollick said. “I would recommend people coming [to the exhibit] because even though it’s on a political level, no matter what your ideas are, it’s important to take a look at everyone and see all sides of everything no matter your specific opinion.”

DACA Recipient

One of the testimonies that hung on the wall that of Deysi Martinez. She graduated from the University of Washington and majored in psychology and minored in criminal justice. She worries that her current job could be lost if the DREAM Act doesn’t pass.     

The DREAM Act would allow her the chance to continue working with youth at her job, providing them with education and employments resources.

“We want something permanent, not temporary,” Martinez said. “I also want to get my masters degree to become a school counselor, but without a DREAM Act I will not know if I will ever be able to do so. I do not want to live with uncertainty and I want the same for my community.”


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DACA recipients plea for action