Valentine’s Day march emphasizes unity among advocacy groups

Valentine’s Day march emphasizes unity among advocacy groups

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Valentine's Day March.
Photo by Billy Huntsman. Supporters of such issues as abortion, Black Lives Matter, taking in immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ rights, stopping climate change and stopping the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline participated in a march and rally on Tuesday, Feb. 14, on the New Mexico State University campus.

By BILLY HUNTSMAN

Las Cruces Bulletin

Supporters of such issues as abortion, Black Lives Matter, taking in immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ rights, stopping climate change and stopping the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline participated in a march and rally on Tuesday, Feb. 14, on the New Mexico State University Campus.

Two student organizations, Aggie Solidarity and Young Berniecrats, hosted the Love Trumps Hate march in an effort to unite the campus’ diverse groups and their concerns.

“Often, such organizations have overlapping concerns and we fail to reach out in solidarity with groups that will engage, unite, and strengthen our mutual efforts,” the march’s Facebook page says.

The march gathered in front of Corbett Center Student Union before heading down the I-Mall and congregating once more in front of the sun dial at the top of the Horseshoe, where a podium and microphone had been set up.

Students and faculty alike spoke at the rally.

“We are here today to stand for, support and love our immigrants, our refugees, indigenous peoples, all water and earth protectors, those of every color, our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, those whose bodies are being regulated by the government, and all those who are being condemned by the new administration,” said Raquel Madrigal, one of NMSU’s Young Berniecrats leaders.

Julie Rice, an associate professor of sociology at NMSU and cofounder of NMSU’s Standing with Our Students, “a loose coalition of faculty members and students and staff.”

“With the election of President Trump, (faculty’s) concern for our students is greater than ever,” she said.

Thus, SOS was created, to combat the “assault on the diversity of our student body here at NMSU.”

Rice said SOS’s main focus is to convert NMSU to a designated “safe,” or sanctuary campus, which NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers has publicly stated will not happen, as it “would jeopardize our federal funding, as well as our ability to issue student visas to our international students and visiting scholars.”

“Over 200 schools now have been involved in this (sanctuary campus) movement in petitioning,” Rice said. “Over 40 have (publicly) committed to being safe campuses except two universities that have explicitly come out as being against being a safe campus.”

NMSU is one of those, Rice said.

Rice said SOS wants NMSU’s administration to publicly say it will not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, in what she said has become popularly known as “lawful un-cooperation.”

Additionally, SOS wants a guarantee that NMSU Police, like the Las Cruces Police Department, would not inquire as to anyone’s immigration status as the sole basis for arrest, Rice said.

“(NMSU Police) are already not doing that but we want a strong public commitment so that everybody knows this because (some) students don’t know this (policy),” Rice said.

Rice said SOS wants a policy passed prohibiting professors and staff from inquiring as to students’ immigration statuses.

“It’s none of our business,” Rice said. “If faculty and staff know this, there is the potential that they could turn the students into authorities, which we can’t have happen.”

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