Rally shows support for DACA recipients


Nicole Schwartz

Eastern students protest the repeal of the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program on Friday Afternoon at Morton Park.

Abbey Whittington, Contributing Writer

The wings of a monarch soared above the crowd in the hands of Yesenia Muruato, a junior criminology major, who used the butterfly to represent DREAM-ers at Friday’s rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and its recipients.

Muruato said the monarch butterfly represents migration and undocumented people because the butterflies migrate between Mexico and the United States.

“We all came from a migrating family,” she said. “This country is made from immigrants and that’s what is great about it, because we are so diverse and we need to embrace that instead of segregating.”

Muruato was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and migrated with her family when she was six years old. She has lived in the United States for 15 years.

Yesenia Muruato, a junior double majoring in criminology and sociology and minoring in Spanish, is a DACA recipient who marched in the DACA Rally on Friday Afternoon.
Nicole Schwartz
Yesenia Muruato, a junior double majoring in criminology and sociology and minoring in Spanish, is a DACA recipient who marched in the DACA Rally on Friday Afternoon.

As a criminology major, she said she wants to go back to her community where people are scared of police officers, police brutality and profiling.

“I want to change that. I want to change the negative stigma that everyone has to police officers,” Muruato said. “I want to go back into my community and help prevent crime.”

She reminded attendees that Hispanic people were not the only ones affected by President Donald Trump’s order to end DACA, and that she was just one in 800,000 students struggling.

“I have not committed any crimes and the only crazy thing that I’ve done is probably dye my hair green,” Muruato said.

Julisa Bautista, president of the Latin American Student Organization that organized the rally, shared her emotional journey to the U.S. with her family, who is from Mexico.

She is the only child out of four who was fortunate enough to attend a university, and her cousin who is one year younger, could not since he is not from the U.S.

Bautista said her and her cousin grew up together and were the only two in their family to graduate high school.

“We didn’t have family to help us with math, writing or reading.” Bautista said. “We had to teach ourselves and that is really hard because we didn’t want to fail our parents and we didn’t want to disappoint them.”

Bautista added that studying at a university is a privilege individuals sometimes do not see and thanked attendees for supporting something that affects not only her family, but also thousands.

Shirley Bell,a retired communication studies professor, spoke before the rally began, informing attendees of the misinformation given about DACA.

She explained that the policy was signed by former President Barack Obama so that the government would not deport children whose parents had come to the country illegally.

Nicole Schwartz
Shirley Bell, a retired communications studies professor marches in the DACA rally on Friday. “I’m here because what (Trump) is doing is completely immoral. He’s violating the rights of DACA recipients. They’re the best of Americans,” Bell said.

She said for a recipient to keep their status, they would have to pay a $500 fee for a two-year work permit, obey all laws, be a full-time worker or student or serve in the military.

Bell said even a speeding ticket could get recipients removed from the program. She told attendees why recipients “do not just come to this country legally,” which is something often argued in opposition of the policy.

Nicole Schwartz
A supporter of the DACA rally that marched through Eastern Friday afternoon holds a sign that reads “All Welcome Here!”

“It is impossible for them to (apply for citizenship). If you were brought here illegally you have to go back out to wherever it was you came from and then apply,” Bell said. “There is a time gap, and even if you wanted to get further down the road, it takes years.”

Bell said raising awareness on what DACA is will help people to stop blaming the victims who are the recipients, 42,000 of which are in Illinois.

Chants that echoed through the streets of Charleston included, “No ban, no wall, libertyfor all,” “people united cannot be divided,” “education, not deportation,” “no hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here” and many more.

“It is a small community, however, small does not mean weak, small can also mean strong,” Bautista said. “This is just the beginning and hopefully in the future things will change.”

Abbey Whittington can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].