Two years ago, Students United for Immigrant Equality was a group centered around policy conversations alone. Now, it seeks directly to engage and empower the local immigrant community.
SUIE was started in 2008 to raise campus awareness about different issues that prevent immigrants from enjoying basic human rights.
“When I came into UNC, I saw a predominantly white community — I didn't see a lot of diversity,” Rosa Elias, the president of SUIE, said.
Before joining SUIE, Elias felt she could not find an adequate space to amplify immigrant struggles on campus.
“We didn't really have a platform to be able to express these issues, even issues that we have on campus because there are a lot of students who are undocumented or DACA students, and their problems are not being spoken about,” she said.
When Elias first joined SUIE, the small group only spoke about immigrant affairs. But she wanted to expand the organization's scope and directly help the immigrant community.
SUIE typically conducts fundraisers once a month for different immigrant communities across the U.S. and donates to different nonprofits that directly support these communities. Last year, the organization raised over $2,000 for various nonprofit organizations.
At the Latinx Heritage Month Kickoff hosted by the Carolina Latinx Center on Thursday, the group will be fundraising for two local refugee communities.
Along with Elias, SUIE Vice President Michelle Jamanca has worked to rebuild and revive the organization after the pandemic caused them to go practically inactive.