Members of the Social Justice Alliance protest racial profiling and voice their support for the DREAM Act. (Photo Credit: Chris Setter)

Amid all the splendor of Wolfstock, one student group gathered in the SAC Plaza holding cardboard signs challenging passerby’s with one question: Do I look illegal to you?

The Social Justice Alliance, or SJA, a student-activist group on campus, held a silent protest on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in support of undocumented students on campus, whom they say get treated unfairly.

“It basically consisted of just having all different students, whoever wanted to participate, coming up grabbing a sign that said ‘Do I look illegal?’ and obviously we all look very different, we’re a diverse group of people,” said Jessica Rybak, treasurer of the SJA. “It was to challenge the racial stereotypes that just inherently are evoked in immigration politics and with undocumented students on campus. I think it was a successful event, we had a lot of people come out and support.” According to Rybak, undocumented students cannot apply for scholarships, so that in itself makes it more difficult for them to go to college.

The SJA was first formed in 2001 in opposition to the pro-war feeling that the nation had after Sept. 11. According to their website, to the group is involved in many progressive fights such as immigrant rights, the feminist movements, anti-war movements and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights.


Their most recent protest was also in support of the DREAM Act, which would allow undocumented students who immigrated to the U.S. at a young age to stay in the country as long as they either go to college or serve in the military. Congress voted against the act last December.

“The Dream Act is a way of regularizing the situation for hundreds of thousands of millions of young people in this country who want to stay here, who should be allowed to stay here and this gives them an opportunity to do it,” said Michael Zweig, director of the center for study of working class life.

Rybak said the group is going to create a “dream team” of their own. “One of our goals is to have a ‘dream team’ to support the Dream Act and to make a safe place for undocumented students and international students to go to know that they have a special community, that they do have a place here and that they’re valued here at this university.”

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