The Santa Clara
January 25, 2018
Every application on my phone had an alarmingly high number of unread messages. It had happened again: Another organized attempt to disrupt the most vulnerable of populations on our campus.
A friend of mine found a poster in the library Sunday night that said “No Means No” and #MyBordersMyChoice. She sent a message about it in the GroupMe of MEChA El Frente, the Latinx student union for which I am co-chair. I jumped on my computer to research it and quickly found out it was a worldwide movement. People had come together on the internet to post flyers in different languages attacking immigrants in countries throughout the world, all on the same night.
This flyer disgusted me for a number of reasons. For one, it made light of consent and what the true meaning of “no means no” is. Whoever created and circulated it does not understand what it is to be a woman, but they also clearly have no compassion, so why was I surprised? This anti-immigrant sentiment only seeks to inflict fear on our immigrants, especially those who are undocumented or who come from mixed-status families.
From the moment I received the message, my life has not stopped to take a beat. I researched it as much as I could, contacted others in my organization to update them and reached out to all of my contacts around campus. I spent hours sending emails and texting people, typing up a statement while those around me did the same. We scurried around to figure out what the best way to respond was.
In every class I had the past week, my professors chose to talk about this incident. I, however, checked out of these conversations as I continued typing emails and messages. I did not have the luxury to talk about why things like this happen.
I had been looking forward to MEChA El Frente’s meeting on Tuesday. We were going to dance with Salsa Clara while eating chips and salsa. It seemed so trivial at this point. I quickly threw that idea away as I reached out to my community. We invited everyone to come to our meeting and talk about this. We created flyers to be circulated around campus. And we never stopped moving.
We had a rather large group of about 80 people, almost twice the members that show up on a normal week. People had come out because they were tired of the constant acts of hate they face. As we sat around in a circle, I felt the hurt of those around me. I realized that as appalled as I was to hear about the future, as a citizen I do not have to live in fear like my undocumented peers.
Last year, after the discovering of the white supremacist posters around campus, I wrote an article for The Santa Clara. I expressed my disgust and fear as a woman of color. Here I am, once again writing about another act of hate that has occurred on this campus.
The truth is, these things will continue to happen as long as white supremacy and bigotry rule. And I am constantly in awe of the brave individuals around me that continue to stand up and fight for their own lives. In times of fear and hate, they stand strong and unwavering in their dedication to the betterment of the most marginalized.
As proud as I am to be surrounded by strong students of color and other marginalized identities, I am also tired. I am tired of living through this. I am tired of the fighting and the hurt that is inflicted on us.
The truth is, a majority of the folks in this institution just don’t get it and don’t want to get it. They do not see our hurt and our pain and do not understand what a battle it is to walk around this campus everyday. When students around me ask the big question—what do we do next?—I honestly don’t know how to answer. I can’t definitively say what the right next step is.
I have hope that the strong students of color and queer, undocumented, women, religious minority students of intersecting identities will continue to do this work to further our own lives. But to them, I say it’s okay to take a step back.
It’s okay to save your energy and not explain to every student in your class who’s ignorant of why your humanity matters. It’s okay to shut all the hate out and come together to have fun. Take care of yourselves, now more than ever.
Veronica Marquez is a junior communication and ethnic studies double major.