Last month, students at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota dedicated a week to educate and raise awareness among their classmates about the DREAM Act. Students in Spanish Composition classes taught by Professors Mayra Taylor and Maria Kalbermatten led efforts to involve the Lutheran college in the national DREAM Sabbath Campaign.
The dedicated group of students spent time tabling outside of the cafeteria to distribute educational material about the DREAM Act. The film “Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth” was shown prior to a discussion with a representative from The Advocates for Human Rights. Congressional petitions and letters were passed around to collect signatures demonstrating support for the DREAM Act. Completing the week, in a fitting tribute to legislation that has significant support from faith communities, a chapel service was dedicated to the DREAM Act.
While students in the classes set out to educate and raise awareness on the broader campus, many gained new insights themselves: “Before this semester, I didn’t know that undocumented children could not attend college or work without being deported. I didn’t know we were punishing children for the actions of their parents”, wrote one student in a reflection about the event.
As is the power of education, the impact of the on-campus activities will extend far past the week: “Now that I can vote, this is something I will take into consideration.”
LIRS, in partnership with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, is encouraging Lutheran churches across the nation to join with Gustavus Adolphus College, the broader Lutheran community and other faith traditions this fall as part of the DREAM Sabbath campaign. To get your church involved, visit www.lirs.org/dream for information and resources.