Rebecca Galemba sent me this note about a large gathering this Thursday at 3 at the Free Speech Wall to go and talk with Chancellor Rebecca Chopp about strengthening measures to protect DACA students against the Trump onslaught. In conversation with our group, Chancellor Chopp has already taken important steps. Hoping to strengthen these, last Friday a meeting of 21 of us called for this gathering. For instance, many of us feel that the word sanctuary is an important moral term for the actions every decent person should take about Trump’s threatened police state moves. Originally a term for Catholic protection for those persecuted, it became in the 1980s a name for that Church, for synagogues and for cities who provided safe havens for people fleeing the murderous, American-armed dictatorships in Central America, particularly Salvador and Honduras. In fact, Los Angeles was the first North American place of sanctuary starting in 1979 (sanctuary for LA meant no cooperation with Federal immigration authorities). H/t Jaser Alsharshen.
Sanctuary was then and is now an action against the repressive policies of a US government in violation of human rights and drunken on its own power. In every classroom, at Universities and otherwise, each student is an equal, deserving of respect as an individual, not to be singled out/grouped for harm. The idea that the Government would intervene on our campus – or on public school campuses – to sweep up some people and throw them away is morally offensive.
And what is the worth of our community and of democratic education – education for honorable citizenship – if we allow such a thing?
Standing up for our fellow students is standing up for community. DU and other universities (and counties and states) should be sanctuaries.
Some 300 cities, counties and states are now sanctuary jurisdictions, including the cities of New Orleans and Boston, and the entire states of California, Connecticut, New Mexico and Colorado (Centre for Immigration Studies).
The University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan, Reed, Portland State, Drake, Connecticut College, Pitzer, Santa Fe Community College and Swarthmore, among others, have declared their space sanctuaries.
Here is Rebecca’s note:
“Last week Chancellor Chopp sent out a letter to the University of Denver community addressing threats to the safety its members and expressing the university’s intention to ‘stand strong in its commitment to protect and support all members of our community.’ While we appreciate the expressed commitment, we would like to see more clearly articulated plans in place to safeguard all members of our community.
We have an appointment with Chancellor Chopp this Thursday and we would like for you to join us.
We will meet at 3pm on Thursday January 19 at the Free Speech Wall (next to Driscoll Student Center) and march to the chancellor’s office.
Tuesday Jan 17 at 3pm we’ll gather at Sie Complex 3130 to make signs and banners.
Please come and help spread the word. This is an important event not only to demonstrate that DU community members will stand up for each other but also to encourage DU administration to put stronger plans and more specific safeguards in place.
Thank you for your support.”