A group of DePaul students recently started a campus sanctuary organization, which gained over 150 Instagram followers in a matter of weeks. Now they are pushing forward plans for a more inclusive campus.
When organizers Gurvir Gill, Chloe Brougham and Sarah Stolpe met at a political science seminar, they recognized the need for a sanctuary movement in DePaul.
The Sanctuary movement began in the 1980s to provide refuge for immigrants who have been denied legal protections in the United States. Inspired by the late 20th century movement and the continued efforts of churches and schools to create safe spaces for immigrants, Gill, Brougham, Stolpe and their classmates felt motivated to keep the momentum going with the tools. which they acquired during their winter term course. Under the mentorship of Professor Kathleen Arnold, the class recently founded an organization called DePaul Sanctuary.
Gill, a sophomore and head of the organization, said: “I was motivated for one by the passion and fervor that Dr Arnold has shown for the movement, and that in turn I think. , mobilized many students in the class to support and get involved. in the organization.
“After learning how it is possible to help and keep immigrants safe, especially in today’s incredibly discriminatory environment, it was natural that we were motivated to create change and add to the sanctuary in any way. possible, ”said Gill.
Creating change can be like a variety of things. Brougham, now a former graduate after the winter term, spoke of his dream of a world where the DePaul Sanctuary logo is turned into a sticker so that once students return to campus people can put it in. their windows and desks to visibly indicate, “This is a sanctuary space.
For years, some DePaul students and faculty have criticized the administration’s refusal to become a campus sanctuary. On September 11, 2017, after the cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Socialists DePaul issued a declaration in the DePaulia.
“Former DePaul President Reverend Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM, has been rightly criticized in the pages of The DePaulia for saying DePaul” remains steadfast in our support for undocumented students “without taking concrete action to stand up to customs and immigration law enforcement (ICE) or provide a real sanctuary for vulnerable students, ”the statement said.
“We believe that a real commitment to undocumented students would fit into the tradition of the sanctuary movement, which dates back to the 1980s. Keeping in the spirit of this movement would require DePaul to harbor undocumented migrants fearing deportation to the university church and the adjacent Vincentian living spaces… ”
Reacting to DePaul’s socialist statement, Brougham said: “The reference to the 1980s is the denominational wing of the shrines movement, and it has a lot to do with this idea of sensitive places like churches and hospitals – and for a while schools, but not so much now, are supposed to be those sensitive places that ICE won’t go into.
“We are in the lineage of sanctuaries and centers for undocumented students, but we also focus on over-policed communities and gay citizens who have no rights,” Brougham added. In order to have an impact, the founders of DePaul Sanctuary hope to grow as much as possible by engaging with students, staff, faculty, and the wider DePaul community.
“Many of our original class are graduating this year but hope to stay involved,” said Stolpe, an economics and political science student who plans to graduate in June.
Additionally, Stolpe said the group hopes to grant internship credits to members who devote at least 10 hours per week to the group. Regardless of membership status, anyone can attend general meetings and events, some of which may take place during the spring term. Interested students can check out DeHub to stay up to date.
Going forward, Stolpe sees potential for change, based on the lessons learned from his group.
“Everyone involved brought unique skills, knowledge and connections to truly tackle detention, deportation and over-policing,” she said.
“I hope we can develop and grow as much as possible,” said Gill. “There is strength in unity and I think if we can prove to people that DePaul Shrine is something that is needed and wanted on campus, our impact will be much greater. “
As for future plans, DePaul Shrine President Dilpreet Kaur has indicated that they will work to make their Security plan more accessible by translating it into a variety of languages and continuing to share events and resources on their Instagram.
Kaur said other potential plans include creating a “how to be a good ally” workshop and infographic, “an updated list of viable information and resources” and a coalition with others. universities or organizations in the Chicagoland region.