Hands Across Fontbonne

By Demarcus Davis

March 8th, 2017— Members of the Fontbonne community gathered outside of the Jack C. Taylor Library to stand in solidarity with immigrant and non-immigrant international students.

This event was sponsored by the Peace and Justice Committee because they saw a need for    expressed support for marginalized, immigrant, and nonimmigrant international community members.

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(The program of events that occurred during the rally) Taken by Demarcus Davis

“A protest is not an appropriate way to show support but a rally is,” says Assistant Director of International Advising Jessica Hylton.

Hands Across Fontbonne was to show support for Fontbonne’s immigrant and nonimmigrant international students, staff, and faculty. A few members of the community shared their story to educate the community on their struggle of coming to the U.S and the struggles of their parents. The title of the program was inspired by the movement in the 1980s,“Hands Across America,” which was a benefit to raise awareness and money for hungry and homeless Americans.

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(This banner was sponsored by the Sister of St.Joseph of Carondelet) Taken by Demarcus Davis

Alumni, Karina Arango, spoke about her family first coming to the U.S. Afterwards she encouraged the audience to not only to empathize, but also act. “It is not enough to sit here and listen, it is not enough to wear a safety pin. You have a platform as a student, as a professor, as a director— to educate, to talk about these things but to also act.”

International students immensely impacts Fontbonne’s community.“Many Americans have this misconception that international students somehow are taking things away from their American-counterpart [sic] such as seats in the classroom” says Director of International Affairs Rebecca Bahan.

Bahan argued that international students culture enriches the Fontbonne community and is financially beneficial to domestic students.“While international students do qualify for scholarship, they do not receive federal government money. International students help supplement the costs for domestic students.” Bahan referenced several resources for understanding the impact of international students in the U.S.

NAFSA reports:

Hylton offers, “We are a home away from home for many of our students. My students are an extension on my family because Fontbonne is a small place.”

 

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The Fontbonne community will continue to stand in solidarity with immigrant students.
(Pictured L-R:Annie McKenzie, Rio Justice,
Clayton Bond, and Ellen Weaver) Taken by Demarcus Davis

DeMarcus Davis is the Social Media Editor and a contributor to Fontbonne University’s Griffin Roar.