PC Community Gathers For Vigil

by The Cowl Editor on September 21, 2017


Campus Leaders Come Together to Show Support for DACA Program 

By Gabriella Pisano ’18

Assistant News Editor

Gabe Alvarez '20 addresses students at the DACA vigil
Laura Chadbourne ’20/ The Cowl

The Providence College community was quick to respond to the announcement that the Trump administration will be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Many of the major clubs on campus, including the Board of Multicultural Student Association, the Board of Programmers, Campus Ministry, Student Congress, and Friars Club, came together to plan a vigil to honor and support those affected. The vigil took place on Sunday, September 17, at 8:15 p.m.

Students and faculty gathered in front of the Slavin Atrium where Phionna Claude ’18, president of student congress, welcomed everyone and spoke about why they were assembled. She explained that while conversations about DACA have been going on, the vigil serves as a “more personal and intimate” way of acknowledging and supporting those affected within the PC community. Claude went on to say, “It was brought to our attention that the term ‘vigil’ could be misinterpreted, but the true definition of a vigil is an opportunity to come together with love and support.”

The aim of the vigil was to show solidarity with the members of the PC community affected by DACA and join in prayer. The group walked in silence to the Harkins outdoor classroom where Father Kenneth Sicard, O.P. ’78, shared a few words and a prayer. Commenting on the organization and purpose of the vigil, Sicard said, “This is PC at its very best. We’ve all been moved by the Spirit to be here.”

A few members from the St. Dominic Ensemble led the group in song. Singing, “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” and “One Bread, One Body,” the theme of unity and support was echoed. Claude then invited anyone to share some words. Gabe Alvarez ’20, stood to read a poem he wrote about immigrants, justice, and the fact that it is not possible for a human being to be illegal.

Dr. Kara Cebulko, associate professor of sociology, then spoke of her work with immigrant students at PC since before DACA existed. Acknowledging the fact that in the recent weeks it has gotten scary for undocumented immigrants, she spoke to the resilience of the immigrant population  globally, locally, and within the PC community. As an example of this resilience, Cebulko pointed to the “Defend DACA” rally that was held at the Rhode Island State House with more then 1,000 people in attendance only days after the news of the end of DACA was released.

Cebulko announced that on Thursday, September 21, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. there will be a panel discussion of the decision by the Trump administration to end the DACA program. The panel, titled “DACA: What Comes Next & Why it Matters,” will be held in the Ruane Great Room. Open to the PC community, the panel will examine what DACA is, what its termination means for immigrants, their families, and American society, and future possibilities. Additionally, the panel will discuss the best practices for supporting those in the Providence College community directly affected by this decision.