Lehman Celebrates Hispanic Heritage with Talk (10/11/2013)

Dr. Amalia Pallares giving a talk about the undocumented youth movement in the East Dining Room. Credit: Percy D. Lujan.

Dr. Amalia Pallares giving a talk about the undocumented youth movement in the East Dining Room. Credit: Percy D. Lujan.

By The Meridian editor.

Lehman celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a presentation by Chicago-based academic Dr. Analia Pallares on Friday inside the East Dining Room.

Pallares, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, spoke about the undocumented youth movement and the struggle of the activists and their families to challenge the definitions of worthiness imposed by outside interests.

Undocumented youth, according to Pallares, began organizing around the passage of the DREAM Act, and initially their rhetoric focused on the “qualities” that made them worthy of citizenship: patriotism, and a good moral and academic standing. The activists later changed their rhetoric to be more inclusive of the other undocumented populations.

“It is not an abandonment of the position they had,” said Pallares. “It is a stratification of it. ‘If I’m worthy, why aren’t we all worthy?’”

The presenter also said that instead of relying on politicians or legal immigrants and citizens to speak for them, undocumented activists have taken the stage to speak for their own communities.

“Undocumented activists, who are thought to have no agency, create their own agency,” said Pallares.

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