by Steven Dunn
WEDNESDAY Sep. 20—Whitworth students, along with students from Gonzaga and Eastern Washington University, marched to the downtown office of U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers to demand the defense of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and immigration reform.
The march started at Gonzaga and ended with at Gonzaga, the majority time of the march was spent outside U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ downtown office, in the Captain Peyton building.
Groups of about four marchers at a time took turns going in to speak with representatives of the McMorris Rodgers, and the rest waited outside the office.The group did not have a scheduled appointment with McMorris Rodgers.
While the remaining group waited outside, organizers gave speeches. Whitworth alumnus Mark Finner offered his services as a lawyer to DACA-receiving students at a reduced price.
According to a press statement released by Rodgers on Sep. 5, “We must protect children who are already here in this country and those who are currently protected under DACA.” The collegiate marchers present on Wednesday demanded that Rodgers go further.
“We would like the congresswoman to sponsor legislation that protects DACA recipients (that’s me), without harming their parents or their neighbors or their community,” Whitworth student Kamau Chege said. “We don’t want them to miss that we are asking for a clean dream act, and for sponsorship of legislation that protects DACA recipients without harming their parents or endangering other immigrants.”
“What we want to know is if you are able to relay that very simple message,” said Chege, “It’s incumbent on us to come back and ask these nice staffers if they heard what we said today, because there is clearly a short memory,”
The most public representation of these demands,were given over the course of 10 minutes to Rodgers’ chief of staff, Ian Field, as he tried to thank us for coming and answer quick follow-up questions.
Whitworth students demanded that Field remain outside and repeat back exactly what their demands were. This was done without regard for Field’s other duties or work and lasted a full 10 minutes.
There were still calm moments of solidarity, where students came together not in a feeling of anger or arrogance, but of compassion. Their demands were based in a hope for the safety of their fellow students and students’ families. In the words of Mark Finner, 03’, “We will stand with you in the rain.”