Discourse / Editorials / February 6, 2019

Thoughts from the Embers: Systemic support for Dreamers, LGBTQ+ students

About halfway through his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Trump introduced one of his standard topics: immigration. The topic was already on the mind of many people  in the country, including at Knox following recent Supreme Court decisions around DACA.

As has happened in the past following similar political changes, Knox’s administration announced its support for students affected by these changes in an email from VP for Student Development Anne Ehrlich.

The email announced two events showing support for students affected by two Supreme Court decisions. The first took place on Wednesday for LGTBQ+ individuals to help build a multi-generational LGTBQ+ community at Knox. The dinner followed a court decision banning transgender individuals from serving in the military.

The second is a meeting on Feb. 12 with an immigration lawyer about the efforts by the Trump administration to end or limit DACA. Making resources like this available to affected students is an essential step in making sure Knox is a welcoming and open place for students of all backgrounds.

The decisions by the court and actions by the Trump administration throw into question whether the U.S. can be a welcoming home to diverse people, but that should not be allowed to carry over onto Knox’s campus. So we applaud Knox’s efforts to provide places for discussion around these issues and hope to see them continue in the future.

We hope many people, even those who do not think they will be affected directly, go to the immigration event. In a community as small as Knox, everyone knows someone affected directly by these issues.

Still, as the State of the Union showed, harmful rhetoric still abounds in the wider world and it must be met with constant kindness and care for our community. Events like the LGBTQ+ dinner which look forward and outward towards creating spaces for expression and common care are something we need to see more of.

Well-publicized events like these should be occurring regularly because the threats to our students do not just happen when courts make a decision or the president signs a bill. In light of the misinformation and rhetoric that surrounds us in the modern world, a constant, public response is needed.

Of course, the groups organizing these two events already have more than enough on their plates each term and do a lot for the campus community. The burden then is on the rest of campus to do two things. First, we need to make sure these events continue by attending them and making all voices heard so they are productive. Second, we need to make sure our own actions show this support and use our own resources to support and protect our community as a whole.

Dreamers and LGBTQ+ individuals are two of the groups that the Trump administration has seemed to specifically target. They have not only seen rights taken away and threatened but their status has been made into a political trading piece.

Nothing from the State of the Union suggests any substantial change in the administration’s policies. The continued focus on ‘the wall’ shows that the situation will continue and may worsen.

The Supreme Court decisions serve as reminders that Trump’s administration has  curtailed rights even further. These actions negate Trump’s attempt to support bipartisanism in his State of the Union.

In response, the steps Knox has taken so far are the right path but we need to keep holding events like this even when these topics are not being talked about nationally.

TKS Editorial Board

Tags:  DACA dreamers lgbt State of Union Address

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