Latinx student organization Mi Pueblo will hold a "Love Knows No Borders" vigil on Thursday in a sign of solidarity for the plight of undocumented people across the North Carolina community.
Mi Pueblo is a Latinx-based, non-exclusive organization for students to serve the community and spread awareness both at UNC and beyond. Anyone can join Mi Pueblo, and sophomoreElizabeth Ordoñez believes in the power of their unified goal.
“It’s just a place to reunite over Latinx problems and Latinx culture,” said Ordoñez, co-director of communications for Mi Pueblo. “It’s a place for the Latinx community to congregate, and it can go from being social to actually us discussing real problems, whether they’re on this campus or nationally.”
Ordoñez and Marco Chumbimuni, Mi Pueblo Political Action Committee Chairperson, only developed the idea for the vigil last weekend. With recent deportations around the country and state providing a steady stream of headlines in the news, Ordoñez and Chumbimuni said they felt the need to organize action for students who might be struggling with their own fear's on campus.
Chumbimuni said he hopes that the vigil help people realize that the national system of immigration needs change.
“It feels heart-wrenching that nine numbers or pieces of paper that could be hanging in our bedrooms protect us from these injustices that happen,” Chumbimuni said.
The vigil being held on Valentine's Day is no coincidence. The organizers wanted the event to embody the love felt on Valentine's Day for those who need it most.
“Valentine's Day is not just about romantic love or love for your significant other. It’s about loving our community, and that is why we named it 'Love Knows No Borders,'” Ordoñez said. “Just to give love to families who are separated or have been separated.”
The vigil will be held in the Pit at 5:45 p.m. People interested in sharing their personal story at the vigil can reach out to Mi Pueblo on social media or fill out an anonymous online form. Given the stigma surrounding people of undocumented status and the potential legal implications, Ordoñez acknowledged the difficulties facing people in that situation who want to speak up.
"We have had a few people who have had experiences in the past with ICE and deportation who are stepping up to speak about it," Ordoñez said.
Through this event, Ordoñez and Chumbimuni said they hope that more people can come forward and voice their support for the Latinx community. Given the current political climate, they believe that these voices are needed more than ever on a campus where 8.5 percent of undergraduate students identify as Hispanic.
“Instead of listening to us there are other forces that want to try and silence us. And so these acts of injustices are carried out because they want our community to remain silent,” Chumbimuni said. “But as many know, this is injustice. This is immoral and just plain wrong to do to other humans.”
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