By Brian Adams
On the afternoon of November 12, many members of the Bellarmine College Preparatory community stood in solidarity with other Jesuit schools and community organizations nationwide in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and young undocumented people in this country. Several dozen students, faculty, and staff members attended the lunchtime vigil, which coincided with the date that the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments to determine the legality of the DACA program.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), and the Ignatian Solidarity Network are among the faith-based entities asking that immigration policies protect the dignity of every human being, particularly that of youth and families.
“We stand with those students; we stand for those students,” remarked Bellarmine president Chris Meyercord, one of several speakers at the vigil. Others who shared remarks were: Father Mario Prietto, S.J., superior of the Bellarmine Jesuit community; Steve Pinkston and Anne Maloney of the Christian Service Program; Carlos Jimenez, director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and student Roberto Davila, who received a standing ovation after sharing his story.
“Immigration is a very complex and often polarizing topic,” said Jimenez, noting that the DACA vigil was held so that people could be informed, listen to different perspectives, and practice empathy, regardless of one’s position politically.
The Bellarmine vigil, held at the outdoor Amphitheatre, was presented by several departments, including: Campus Ministry; the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Maker Lab; Christian Service Program; and Religious Studies department.
The ceremony concluded with moments of prayer and reflection, and the playing of Amazing Grace on the saxophone by student Mason Phoenix, during which all were invited to attach a butterfly, symbolic of hope for DACA recipients, to a pulley system attached to the Carney Science Center. Each butterfly was created at Bellarmine’s Maker Lab.