- SXSW 2014
The protestors at the rally held signs, chanted and listened to speeches in front of the Tower to show support for undocumented immigrants and students.
On Wednesday, hundreds from the UT community and beyond gathered at the UT tower for a rally in support of undocumented students at the university and the 11 million undocumented immigrants nationwide.
On Wednesday, students, community members and even a famous face gathered in support of over 400 undocumented Longhorn students and in response to the controversial Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) “Catch an Illegal immigrant” event that was cancelled.
Students of all backgrounds joined at the UT tower at noon to hear the stories of undocumented students, spoken word performances from slam poets, support from around the entire nation and a compelling speech speech from actress and immigration reform advocate America Ferrera.
“The time is now to say no. No to a permanent second class, caused by a broken immigration system,” said Ferrera.
Emotions ran high at the rally as students expressed their concerns of being separated from their families and how YCT’s planned event was making a mockery of their realities.
“I didn’t know whether I was going to have to leave UT and go back to Mexico to go work. I didn’t know what was going to happen with my life,” student Juan Beltran said.
Leaders of the rally asked protesters to contact their representatives in support of legislation HR 15, a proposed bill that addresses the legalization of undocumented individuals and creates more economic opportunity for immigrants.
The rally received support not only from the UT community but also from other schools nationwide, including the University of Houston, Texas A&M, Dartmouth College, Texas State University, Rice University and UT San Antonio, through social media.
Support from UT included the United We Dream, the School of Social Work, the Social Justice Action Coalition, the UT Law School, the Hispanic Student Association and Hispanic Health Professions organization.
“I think that today people really saw the power that the students have to counter the event that they made,” said Gabriela Torres, University Leadership Initiative member. “So YCT has around 100 active members. There were thousands of students out here today, and I think that just shows how wrong this was and how much of a voice students can have when they just gather together for a common cause.”