Office of Multicultural Affairs
Undocumented Students

Scarlet U Campaign

  • Monday, October 22, 2012 

    Today we launch a campaign with the intent to create a safe space for students who are undocumented, and to share with those who have a strong commitment to create a community of care, and confidentiality, for all students regardless of their status in this country.

    Student activism for an immigration reform has been very active all over the country, and while some are very outspoken about their status there are still many faces that continue to be in the shadows and feel afraid. This campaign was born out of student advocacy; it began in Georgia with a group of brave undocumented students, they did the following to portray how they were feeling about being undocumented and denied the right to obtain a higher education. 

    On January 21, 2012 about 20 students wore a scarlet "U" on their shirts to a Georgia House Higher Education Committee, which was going to hold a hearing on House Bill 59. "The bill would prohibit undocumented immigrants from enrolling in any of the 35 colleges in the University System of Georgia and the 25 colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia. Colleges would be required to run students' names through a federal database to make sure they are in the country lawfully. Only if they are would they be allowed to attend a public college."

    OMA Scarlet U Campaign 1  

    The scarlet U's represented what they say is the stigma and second-class status placed on undocumented students.

    Below, "Keish Kim, 20, of Roswell, an undocumented immigrant, speaks during a hearing on HB 59, which would ban undocumented immigrants from attending any public college in Georgia. She wore a scarlet U to represent her undocumented status." You can also click on the photo; you will be directed to a video of Keish addressing the Georgia Board of Regents on behalf of the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance and undocumented students on November 8, 2011.

    OMA Scarlet U Campaign 2

     

    In March, 2012 during the annual National Association of Student Personal Administrators some student affairs professionals wore scarlet U's on their nametags. This was initiated by the mobilization through the Latino Knowledge Community members. This particular year, the conference was in Phoenix, Arizona, a state where undocumented individuals have been targeted and ethnic studies have been banned from public institutions. The purpose was to bring awareness, be in solidarity with students and for each other as allies, and also to make sure the issues did not go unmentioned throughout the conference.

    Today, we invite you to join this student initiated movement, to help these students stop feeling silenced, unnoticed, and help them be unafraid to share their status with you. Undocumented. Unafraid. Unashamed.

    Safe Space

    We will be providing safe space undocumented student emblems for all those present who wish to take this back to their campus, and display it. In the same way that the safe space emblem has been identified for the LGBTQ community as an indicator of willingness and commitment to provide an atmosphere of support for persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender variances. Our hope is that this scarlet U emblem, will be recognized as safe space for undocumented students, and indicate a commitment to provide an atmosphere of support, respect, and privacy for all persons who wish to display their undocumented status.

     

    OMA Scarlet U Campaign 4

    For this to happen we need your help, if you are committed to helping undocumented students, please display this emblem. Our only request is that if you do display this emblem, then you

    • are committed to supporting undocumented students
    • have researched the topic and have knowledge of resources, both institutional and community
    • will do everything possible to make sure students are not placed in harm's way (i.e. sharing their status with others, etc.)
    • acknowledge that even the best intent, could have a negative impact if a student's information are entrusted to anyone other than allies only.

    Our hope is that we collectively start creating a safe and empowering space for all students, where they are able to be cared for and educated holistically regardless of their status in this country.

    Thank you!

    Juanita Jasso, Krystle Cobian, Rodolfo Mondragon

    Questions: Juanita Jasso (jassoj@seattleu.edu)  

    References

    Diamond, L. (2012, January 31). Much debate over bill to bar illegal immigrants from Georgia colleges. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved from http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/much-debate-over-bill-to-bar-illegal-immigrants-fr/nQQtz/.

    Undocumented Immigrant Tumbler [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/undocumented-immigrant?before=1327541072