Al Otro Lado

Greek organization Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority will be hosting the event "Building a Bridge: Al Otro Lado & DREAM Action NIU" from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Wednesday in Campus Life Building, Room 100. Ethnic food will be served to guests who provide a $7 donation. The proceeds will go directly to DREAM Action NIU and Al Otro Lado, according to a Lambda Theta Alpha promotional flyer.

"The main goal of raising these funds is to help immigrant students apply for DACA renewals," Sheila Martinez, Lambda Theta Alpha president, said. "Some of the funds will also go to a Welcoming Western Counties team member, Dana Yarak, who is organizing a trip to the Mexican border to help asylum seekers coming to the United States. He is also a member of Al Otro Lado."

The student-led organization that is helping students with DACA renewals, DREAM Action NIU, "aims to increase awareness about the situations undocumented students face in the U.S. and particularly on our campus," and also "shares the belief that higher education is a fundamental human right for all, regardless of citizenship status," according to the organization's description on the university's Undocumented Student Resources webpage.

"DREAM Action NIU has hosted several workshops this year to help raise awareness about the obstacles undocumented students face while pursuing degrees in higher education," Sandy Lopez, coordinator for Undocumented Student Support, said. "They also co-sponsored a lecture from Patrisia Macias-Rojas titled "From Deportation to Prison," and helped bring author and activist, Charlene Carruthers, to campus."

Al Otro Lado is a bi-national non-profit organization based in California. They assist immigrants from Tijuana, Mexico with resources that allow them to immigrate to the U.S. through Southern California, according to the organization's website. Assistance in legal support is also provided to deportees who are sent back to Mexico from the U.S.

"Students who attend this event can expect great food, music and hopefully dancing," Martinez said. "They will be making a change through a monetary donation, which can do more to help immigrants with the issues they face than only raising awareness on social media."

Lambda Theta Alpha is collaborating with other organizations in order to host this event. They want to create a message that immigration issues don't only affect the Latin population on campus, but also pose a problem for all cultures, Martinez said. The food selection from different organizations at the event shows this collaboration of cultures.

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