DeKALB – Al Otro Lado and Dream Action NIU raised money during their fundraising campaign to support undocumented immigrants and immigrants seeking asylum. The event took place at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Campus Life Building Room 100.
Several fraternities, sororities and organizations cooked and prepared food to incentivize people to donate. There was also a presentation by Dana Yarak, Vice President of Conexión Comunidad, halfway through the event. Music and socializing filled the Campus Life Building.
In order for those in attendance to enjoy the food, they would have to at least donate $7 to Al Otro Lado & Dream Action NIU. The Building A Bridge event raised over $400. The room ran out of empty chairs, and many attendees were standing.
Al Otra Lado and Yarak helped people complete asylum forms, obtain lawyers and guide them through the process of immigrating to the United States. Dream Action NIU helps undocumented immigrants go to college and helps their experience at NIU.
Both organizations are “dedicated to helping immigrants in detention centers in the US and undocumented students at NIU,” according to Lamda Theta Alpha Sorority Inc.
This organization promotes "unity through charitable and educational programs, maintain[ing] a higher standard of learning and serv[ing] as a voice for all students," according to Lamda Theta Alpha Sorority Inc.'s website.
Six NIU organizations helped prepare the food. Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority Inc. and E.B.O.N.Y Women provided chicken, vegetables and mac & cheese. Members of Lambda Theta Phi Fraterenty Inc. brought arroz con gandules (jambalaya) and tostones (fried bananas).
The E.B.O.N.Y. Women’s organization even brought a lawyer that specializes in undocumented immigrants’ cases to help people become legal citizens and be granted asylum.
Members of Kappa Pi Beta brought a fried rice dish. Dream Action NIU provided deserts like peanut butter bars and cake.
Yarak presented a slide show and talked about his time in Tijuana, Mexico. He volunteered with Al Otra Lado and helped people seeking asylum or get to the United States.
“People seeking asylum don’t understand the complicated process they have to go through,” Yarak said. Yarak expressed his feelings towards border patrol denying people asylum as “illegal.”
“Undocumented immigrants can’t get financial aid or assistance from the government,” Shiela Martinez, Lameda Theta Alpha President, said. “The problems that undocumented immigrants face affect my colleagues, family and community.”