Not even five minutes into our icebreaker game of speed dating did the eerie and outdated emergency alarm sound throughout the rickety old St. Robert’s Hall building. Members and curious visitors of the Resilience group stopped mid-discussion and stood around wondering if this 9 p.m. alert was serious or an accident. To be safe, we all exited the building, thoroughly confused and wondering where we would go to finish the general meeting, because it was definitely too cold to do so outside.
We ended up in the Center for Student Action office all huddled in a circle on the floor, mutually agreeing that we'd had enough ice breakers for the night. Sophomore sociology major Camila De Pierola is the president of Resilience, "a support network for undocumented students/allies within the LMU Community and outside of LMU that consists of faculty, staff and outside organizations," according to LMU's Student Organizations website.
She opened up the first general meeting with their mission statement, which is to empower immigrant students and to educate their community about immigration. Pierola also made it known that there is no hierarchal system to the club. The group works together in their different, but equally important, positions to accomplish what they need to do. Their main goal for this year is to work on outreach. Pierola explained the motive behind this, stating, "we want to make students feel included, because immigration comes in all shapes and forms." Resilience wants to work with other intercultural groups to promote the idea that the issue of immigration is not one solely identifiable by the Mexican community, but an issue that affects all races and ethnicities.
After being dormant for a while, the club is working to achieve the spreading of this message through the work of freshman communications studies major and representative of Resilience, Desiree Diaz, who is outreaching to the club's mother group, The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Diaz explained some of the work that is needed to reach their goal: "We are trying to reach out and see what we can help them with in bringing awareness to immigration issues. Currently I am trying to get in contact with different orgs on campus like ASLMU, MEChA, Student Leadership and Development (SLD), to help with events we are trying to pull through with."
Diaz articulates similarly what Pierola said in detail about relaunching the club to be more inclusive, displaying the consistency within the group, as she states "relaunching involves understanding the intersectionality about immigration and telling people who aren't interested in this issue — because they don't think it affects them, that it's not a POC issue — it's not just Mexicans coming across a river. It's people migrating from all over, whether they're refugees or people trying to make a better life."
The members and its e-board express the excitement they have for this busy but eventful semester. Freshman psychology major Taylor Pajunen reveals why she feels it is necessary to be involved.
"I've had a lot of privilege in my life, and I should be doing something about it and helping out," said Pajunen. "I believe it's one of my responsibilities to start conversations about this with people."
Resilience informed the community that they will be spearheading Immigration Awareness week this year, which goes from April 2 - April 6. Their plans include having open mic nights in the Living Room to provide a safe time and place for people to voice their feelings and experiences, as well as vigils and collaborations with professors. Also in the works this year, instead of a wall, they plan to take a new spin and make a fence instead. Resilience encourages people of all kinds to join in by participating to help achieve a smooth sailing and eventful Immigration Awareness week.