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La Liga de Las Americas



Oberlin College Students organize walk-out in solidarity with the Nationwide Immigrant General Strike and Boycott on May 1


On May 1st, students from Oberlin College in northeast Ohio organized a campus walk-out in solidarity with the Nationwide Immigrant General Strike, “The Great American Boycott 2006: A Day Without an Immigrant.”


Several Oberlin students met several weeks ago to form the Oberlin Coalition for Immigrant Rights, an organization that, according to their statement of purpose, “is committed to working in solidarity with the millions of protesters across the nation demanding just immigration reform that includes a pathway to legalization, family reunification, and stronger labor protections for all workers regardless of legal status.”


In the words of sophomore Teresita Prieto, one of the student organizers, “After attending the East Coast Chicano Student Forum Conference, and seeing the dedicated work of students at other schools, I realized that, on the immigration issue, the Oberlin student body had not lived up to its activist reputation.”


The coalition aimed to promote discussion on the Oberlin College campus through guest speakers and faculty panels about the current national debate around immigration reform and the recently passed HR4437.


As part of their publicity work, they also created an art installation with crosses and a chain link fence to commemorate the thousands of women, men, and children who have died trying to cross the border between the U.S. and México, which averages one death per day according to Mexican Consul Oscar de la Torre (Detroit).


According to the coalition, it has received much support from the rest of the student body and faculty. College Junior Susanna Duncan emphasized that: “In the wake of massive protests, hundreds of immigrant workers have been fired from their jobs, caught up in immigration raids, or deported as reprisals for standing up to demand dignity and justice. As allies in this movement, we have a duty to stand in solidarity and let our voices be heard with those who far too often are silenced by unjust laws.”


As a public display of this solidarity, Oberlin students walked out of their classes at 11:45 AM on Monday, May 1st. Following the walk-out, they held a rally for immigrant rights with the Oberlin community at noon in Tappan Square.


According to Prieto, over 250 people—primarily from the Lorain, Oberlin, Elyria, Willard areas—participated.  It was part of many such national rallies, where over one million participated.  






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