Cal Poly’s Dream Center hosted “Undocu-Week” events Oct. 12-16 to spotlight and educate about the undocumented community on campus. The theme — “My Existence Is…” — encouraged attendees to consider the nuances of experience as an undocumented person.
Preparation for Undocu-Week began at the start of the academic year. The Dream Center team aimed to create a flexible schedule for attendees and centered guest speakers both in and outside the Cal Poly community, business administration sophomore Sandra Gutierrez Carmona said.
“The process for planning out a virtual week of events was different for sure, but a challenge never stopped anyone,” Carmona said.
One of two Student Leads at the Dream Center, Carmona said Undocu-Week gave her hope.
“We planned it with the hope that it will inspire many other people to keep following their dreams and make those dreams goals,” Carmona said.
On Monday, the “My existence is cultivating,” event was designed to cultivate learning and healing, with a Q&A session with Immigrant Legal Defense as well as a Dream Circle, led by Ana Cabezas and Diana Menendez from Counseling Services.
“My existence is trailblazing” on Tuesday workshopped storytelling and explored the collective Dreamer narrative.
“It’s a bit scary sharing with people your status, but in reality, it shouldn’t be,” Carmona said. “[Undocumented status] should be as normalized as sharing another identity, and I believe people should be more accepting of the fact that there’s individuals working every day to be better.”
The event “My existence is boundless” on Wednesday was hosted by Ernesto Rocha (@undocubae) in which participants learned to navigate the world as “unapologetically queer,” according to the Dream Center wesbite.
Carmona said she hoped attendees were inspired and motivated by the stories of intersectionality from the Undocu-Week speakers.
Thursday’s event provided attendees with resources in their future educational and professional pursuits with “My existence is innovative.” The event included graduate school presentations from Career Services as well as conversations with entrepreneur and artist Boonyarit Daraphant (@illegal_drip) on the “undocu-hustle,” according to the dream center website.
“I feel honored to [have been] there. The questions and community were beautiful,” Daraphant said. “I’m happy to be able to connect with folks and share my lessons learned.”
Draphant is an undocumented artist from Thailand and owner of Illegal Drip, a clothing line that blends art and advocacy according to the Dream Center website.
“[A university’s] job should be to assist folks to their success,” Daraphant said. “[Undocu-Week] is an amazing opportunity for folks to come together, learn, and build, which is a beautiful thing.”
Daraphant is also the co-founder of Monarch Mercado, a network and marketplace for undocumented people to find community, grow and hustle. His work has been featured in notable immigrant organizations such as “Immigrants Rising,” “United We Dream” and the “Home is Here” campaign. He provided tips about starting your own brand and navigating business without DACA, the Dream Center website said.
“Confidence, we hope, will emerge from increased visibility in the support system that exists currently,” Carmona said.
The “My existence is joy” event concluded Undocu-Week with bonding activities on Friday.
“Telling our campus and surrounding community, we are still here, and we are strong,” Carmona said.