CSUCI Undocu Grads Celebrate!
By Ivan Vega
Attending the Undocumented Stoling Ceremony/ Undocu Grad at Cal State University, Channel Islands last Friday evening was such a memorable experience. The Undocumented Student Services hosted the event at Malibu Hall at CSUCI. Ten undocumented graduates were honored; each had the opportunity to choose the faculty or staff-member who would Stole them. They also got the opportunity to walk up on stage with two family members. To see the stage full of undocumented students, their families, and allies was genuinely heartwarming. After the formal ceremony the families celebrated, taking pictures, eating, and dancing.
I was glad to get to speak with the president of the IDEAS (Improving Dreams, Equity, Access and Success) club at CSUCI, the undocumented student club on campus. He told me that while he is so proud of the accomplishments of the graduates, not all had been able to participate in IDEAS and he hopes that current and future students will join the group for mutual support and to advocate more strongly for necessary resources on campus.
Reflecting later, I remembered when there were no institutionalized services for undocumented students at CSUCI. I am honored to have contributed a small part to the creation of this space. In 2013, I met with a small group of undocumented students organizing on campus for their rights. At the time, through my work at CLUE-Ventura County, I was a steering committee member for the California Dream Network (CDN): the most extensive network of undocumented students organizing in the state of California. I introduced this brave group to CDN. I am proud to say that I only presented them to the resources; the students themselves pursued those dreams and established a center for themselves and for future undocumented students to come.