By: Juan Calvillo
Undocumented students at East Los Angeles College have a safe space to express themselves, get scholastic information and a sense of camaraderie in the UndocuHuskies Club.
Evelyn Martinez, president of the UndocuHuskies, said the club’s goal is to create a safe space for student fellowship. Martinez said the club’s mandate this year is about making a difference and collaborating on campus. She said her hope is that the club will not only ask for change, but that it will be a part of making change happen.
“I hope for us to become involved, or learn a little more and see what we can do to change because I think it’s important to do. Not just (say) ‘Oh, I want change,’ but to actually do the change,” Martinez said.
Laura Ramirez, faculty club advisor, said a lot of political situations center on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. She said it is a constant on people’s minds. Ramirez said club members could participate in discourse with representatives or during activities in the local East Los Angeles area.
“Students can get representatives and talk to some of them to see if there’s going to be opportunities for students to be involved in those kinds of events. (Events) right now are trying to make movements to make sure that their voices can be heard,” Ramirez said.
Justine Miranda, vice president of the club, said connections with various other groups on and off campus help give back to the students at ELAC. She said there would be a focus on undocumented students, but that all students were invited to join as allies and be helped as well.
One of the allies that is working closely with both the UndocuHuskies and ELAC’s Dream Resource Center is the legal group of Central American Resource Center. Martinez currently works at CARECEN and said she would be providing constant updates as to legal statuses and information.
Jack Gonzalez, club treasurer, said benefits of the club include student advocacy and connections with undocumented students. Gonzalez said starting out his journey at ELAC was challenging as an undocumented student. He said the DRC at ELAC, a group dedicated to helping undocumented people on campus, made sure to help him with all the paperwork. He said his first introduction to the UndocuHuskies was through the DRC.
The club looks to create a sense of togetherness through meetings that will highlight on books that focus on the undocumented experience. One of the books they will read is “No Wall They Can Build” by CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective.
The club will resume in-person meetings as soon as it is a viable option, if not this semester then next. The UndocuHuskies is currently chartered and meetings will be held on a bi-weekly schedule. Meetings start at 4 p.m. and run to 5 p.m. and can be accessed using the Zoom link, bit.ly/undocuhuskies2021.
The UndocuHuskies will have their next meeting Oct. 21. The club started in 2018 and has provided students with access to Dream Act information and financial aid workshops for undocumented students. The club can be reached on Instagram @undocu.huskies, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and via Google Voiceat (323)433-1870.