“Silent Body Art Expression” Protest Rallies Support
Against the loud sounds of bass and rap, a dozen students in blue face paint assembled beneath the Student Center marquee on Thursday, May 27.
The group gathered at noon with signs and pamphlets proclaiming, “We Are Arizona” and “Let’s Pass the DREAM Act.”
“We are representing that we are the same,” first-year psychology major Andrea Gaspar said, indicating the blue paint on the protesters’ faces and arms.
The educational protest was aimed at informing other students about recent issues facing minority groups and AB540 students. One of the main issues the group was protesting was Arizona’s SB1070 immigration bill, which allows police officers to check on the citizenship status of potentially illegal immigrants.
Although the protest was scheduled for noon, the protesters were faced with several problems, including the lack of permission to use amplified sound on Ring Road. After negotiations, the protesters were allowed to begin their event at 1 p.m. on the Student Center Terrace.
According to a Facebook event page set up for the Thursday protest, SB1070 is “the most blatantly racist legislation in recent memory,” but not everyone is prepared to condemn Arizona entirely: the city of Yorba Linda recently announced that it is considering passing a resolution in support of the bill.
The city of Costa Mesa is also strengthening its own stance on immigration. The Costa Mesa City Council recently passed a resolution that declared the city a “rule of law” community, which states that the city is no longer a “sanctuary city.” On May 19, the OC Register reported that the Costa Mesa City Council vowed to utilize whatever resources they could to enforce immigration laws.
“There needs to be more awareness of the implication of laws,” fourth-year sociology major Abraham Medina said.
The group was also protesting in support of the DREAM Act. The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act would allow undocumented students to apply for naturalization if they obtain a two-year college degree or complete two years of military service.
If passed, the DREAM Act would help hundreds of undocumented students throughout the UC system.
Supporters of the DREAM Act have been lobbying for years for recognition from Santa Ana Representative Loretta Sanchez and, finally, achieved their goal: last Wednesday on May 26, Sanchez agreed to co-sponsor the DREAM Act.
Meanwhile, groups are still lobbying for support from Senator Dianne Feinstein. Protesters were recently arrested during a sit in at Senator Feinstein’s office in Los Angeles.
The hour-long protest on the Student Center Terrace included spoken word, speeches and personal stories from students who would benefit from the passing of the DREAM Act.
At the end of the hour, Gaspar took to the microphone and encouraged everyone to act out and support the DREAM Act. After reading out loud the phone number for Senator Feinstein’s office, Gaspar called and left a message with a secretary to demonstrate what students could do to ask for support for the DREAM Act.
“If we don’t stand up and stop these things now,” Gaspar said, “who knows what will happen.”