UF students hung butterflies on trees in Turlington Plaza. Some were painted with random designs, while others were painted with flags.
UF Chispas, a club that advocates for immigrants’ rights, raised $285 on “I Stand With Immigrants Day of Action” Tuesday. The money will go toward its Out of the Shadows scholarship, which supports undocumented and DACA-recipient students.
Bianca Cegatte, Chispas’ vice president of marketing, said the club has celebrated this day, which was created by immigration and criminal justice reform group FWD.us, for four years. Chispas honors this day annually to show students there is a community for immigrants and allies on campus.
Cegatte, a 21-year-old UF business administration junior, said it’s important for Chispas to hold public events, as it is the only student-run organization on campus that advocates for immigrant rights.
“At UF, the immigrant community is very underrepresented and hidden,” Cegatte said. “This just showcases that we have support and we’re not fighting for a small amount of people.”
Cegatte said she immigrated from Brazil to the U.S. with her mother when she was about 7 years old, and she hopes to be an immigration lawyer in the future.
“I know what it’s like to grow up amongst communities that don’t understand you, don’t know you, maybe don’t speak your language,” Cegatte said. “I know how hard the process is.”
One of Chispas’ main campaigns is Boot the Braids, a movement which protests Wendy’s for not being part of the Fair Food Program. The program is a partnership among farm workers and retail food companies for humane wages and working conditions.
Gators Dream Forward, the organization’s other major initiative, shares campus resources and information with undocumented students. About 8 percent of UF’s Fall 2018 student population is undocumented or international students, according to UF’s enrollment website.
Cristian Vasquez, an 18-year-old UF international studies freshman, went to the Chispas table in Turlington because he believes in their advocacy. As the son of two Colombian immigrants, he said protecting immigrants is especially important in today’s polarized political climate.
“Every immigrant deserves a chance,” Vasquez said. “We all start off as immigrants anyway.”
Bianca Cegatte, the vice president of marketing for Chispas UF, hangs a butterfly on a tree Tuesday afternoon in Turlington Plaza as part of the “I Stand With Immigrants Day of Action.” The event, hosted by Chispas UF, invited students to paint small wooden butterflies with the colors of their home country’s flag or colors that represented something important to them.
A student colors a wooden butterfly at the Chispas UF table in Turlington Tuesday afternoon.
Bianca Cegatte gazes at a wooden butterfly hanging from a tree in Turlington Tuesday afternoon. Students colored the butterflies and then hung them on a string near the table. The goal is to have the finished piece hung at La Casita when construction finishes.
Meghan McGlone is a UF junior majoring in journalism and English, and this year she’s the City and County Commission reporter. In past years, she’s served as the University Editor, the Student Government reporter, and other positions. Her favorite past time is eating gummy worms and reading a good book.