Berkeley, CA - February 16, 2017
More than 50 students, faculty, staff, and members of the GTU extended community gathered in front of the Le Conte building at the Graduate Theological Union for a public witness on Thursday, February 16, in support of “A Day without Immigrants,” a boycott campaign designed to highlight the contributions of immigrants in the United States. “We gathered out of a need to witness to the powerful place immigrants, past and present, have in our GTU communities, families, neighborhoods, and lives,” said organizer Corinna Guerrero, a GTU doctoral candidate and MTS online coordinator at Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University.
Over the course of two hours, numerous stories were told of personal and family journeys to the U.S. Participants shared resources on the topic of immigration and raised questions about current immigration policies. Some expressed a desire to educate themselves more fully on the realities of immigrant experiences in order to be better equipped to face what one student called “the legacy of legal, political, economic, social, and religious dehumanization against sojourners and residents in this country.”
The decision to hold a GTU public witness in support of “A Day without Immigrants” was made less than 24 hours earlier, and word was spread largely by email and social media. Event organizers hope additional actions will follow. “Our student communities feel public witness is integral to their formation as ministers, advocates, activists, and academics,” said Guerrero.