UH Youth Empowerment Alliance hosts first Undocuweek
To unite the undocumented community on campus, UH Youth Empowerment Alliance is holding an Undocuweek, with events Monday through Thursday evening, including a movie night, discussion panel and slam poetry session.
Student organizations at other universities have hosted Undocuweeks in the past, but this will be the first at UH. The week aims to bring community support for UH’s undocumented students and raise money to support those going through immigration proceedings.
“We hope to help undocumented students here navigate through college and even after college,” said Stephany Sanchez, the education chair for UH YEA.
The week’s discussion panel “Undocumented Beyond College” took place Wednesday in the Science Building. A lawyer answered questions about legal processes undocumented people face, and panelists educated undocumented students on navigating life after college.
“We know there is a big population of students here who are undocumented, but it’s kind of hard to find them,” Sanchez said. “We hope that with events like these we can get more people to come out.”
One of the barriers undocumented students face is having to navigate the financial aid system without a lot of help, said Sanchez.
“We have to do everything ourselves,” Sanchez said. “We have to go through financial aid, and then we have to go through a different process in TAFSA, which a lot of the people at the financial aid office don’t know about.”
Social events foster a sense of community and shared experiences between students, Sanchez said. It creates a safe space for students to take their minds off some of the complicated details of being undocumented.
YEA on Monday hosted their “Artivism” event, where students could express and empower themselves through crafts.
YEA is an inclusive organization with a tight-knit group of members, said Sanchez. Besides Undocuweek, Sanchez mentions that YEA is starting to host more educational events. They are currently planning an event about the impact the Department of Homeland Security can have on campus.
“We know that’s a heavy subject, so we also try to hold socials and events so we can all connect,” Sanchez said.
The organization is welcome to all students, not just those who are undocumented. Sanchez said for the most part students on campus have provided support and positive reactions to their cause.
“We have a lot of other clubs that come out to our events and support us,” Sanchez said. “It’s really nice to connect with other organizations.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated a quote from Stephany Sanchez. She said TASFA, not FASFA.