BY JOSÉ ARNULFO CABRERA | July 24, 2020
When I was a senior at Xavier University, one of my best friends, Andrea, taught me what Sacbe was—a white, Mayan road that connected villages and temples. On this road, people would walk together in peace. Sacbe means that you’re never alone. No matter what hardship you face on your journey. In my cover letter for my position at ISN, I wrote, “I won’t just work to develop the leadership of immigrant youth in ISN’s network, but I’ll also be in Sacbe with all of them.”
Next week we will be wrapping up the three-week-long Migration Justice: Virtual Summit for College Students. The summit aims to educate college students about our broken immigration system, provide organizing tools for campus organizing, and connect passionate students for migration justice across the country. There are two tracks to the summit, a general and an organizing track. In the general track, students heard stories from both undocumented immigrants in the Jesuit network and asylum seekers through Kino Border Initiative. Through the stories of real immigrants experiencing the injustice of our immigration system, the students have come to find an understanding of our immigration system that is relatively accessible to them. In the organizing track, students build organizing tools to use at their school. They also build an understanding from a policy perspective on how to advocate when there is so much happening with immigration policy right now. By the end of the summit, students have an action plan they can take back to their campus for an UndocuWeek or make their campus more friendly towards undocumented students.
Over 100 students are participating and during our weekly reflections, I have the pleasure of hearing their passion for advocating for immigrants and working to make their campus friendly to undocumented students. Many of these students are also new to migration justice or organizing. They have walked into the summit curious about replicating the work of past students who have worked to establish scholarships for undocumented students, centers on campuses that support undocumented students, and weeks of action that aimed to educate their peers to understand our broken immigration system.
These reflections have reminded me that I’m not alone. I was introduced to over 100 new student organizers in the Jesuit network who are working toward making all 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States welcoming to undocumented students. All of these students and I are practicing Sacbe on this journey.
José Arnulfo Cabrera is the director of education and advocacy for migration for the Ignatian Solidarity Network. He is a 2018 graduate of Xavier University, a DACA recipient, and an immigration activist. He previously worked with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he provided training on lobbying, organizing, and immigration policy, as well as shared his own immigration story, and as a government relations associate with NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice in Washington, D.C.