Student after student lined up to speak out Nov. 14 at the Chabot-Las Positas College District Board meeting, wanting their voices to be heard concerning the Sanctuary Resolution.
Las Positas College DACA student, Angela Vasquez, psychology major, spoke up in tears. Inspired to make LPC a sanctuary school, Vasquez said, “I want to be that voice for the people who feel ashamed of where they came from.”
Those effected by this controversy voiced their desire to make change. Chabot student, Taufa Setefano, spoke up for her community, quoting Arundhati Roy, “There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”
Setefana’s sister, Mia Sete, also spoke out, quoting Nelson Mandela, “May your choice reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
The issues that sparked these emotions from speakers, was the delay in response from the district office on this sanctuary resolution since this past spring and during the meeting on Oct. 24.
Chabot faculty member Laura Alarcon, said, “Putting the Chabot Sanctuary resolution on hold until Las Positas presented a similar resolution to the Board seems to disregard the uniqueness of each college and the different needs of the community where our students live, work and play.”
She closed by saying that because the district board placed the Chabot’s Sanctuary Resolution under the “No Action” agenda subheading. It showed a lack of courageous leadership that has been demanded from the Board around this issue since May 16th. She put in question the Chancellor and Board of Trustee’s ability to “lead us during these conflicting times.”
Lorenzo J. Caballero who spoke, also felt that the sanctuary not being on the agenda felt like a lack of interest on the Chancellors and boards part. He felt the Chancellor “passed the buck” when they proposed that the LPC Student Government weren’t on top of doing their part at the last meeting. He said he felt they weren’t aware of the pressing need but once they heard this, immediately got on top of it within weeks.
Another problematic issue Chabot expressed was the location of the district board meetings. Caballero thanked the board for moving next months meeting to Chabot, saying he wanted, “fair representation.” The difficulty for Chabot students to get to Dublin and Livermore has raised feels of inequality. Giving each location equal turns for future meetings was appreciated by many speakers.
Chabot College Counselor and Instructor Juztino Panella expressed being “surprised if not bewildered” over two points raised by administration at the previous Board of Trustees meeting. “First, we were told that many immigrant rights communities do not embrace the word ‘Sanctuary’,” Panella said.
Panella proved this point to be false. The Rapid Response Coordinator from MUA (Mujeres Unidas y Activas), a Latina immigrant women’s organization, indicated that immigrant communities do embrace and advocate for both sanctuary policies and the symbolic importance of using the word “Sanctuary” to describe these policies. The MUA coordinator said “Immigrants need to know that their school, city and state will not collaborate with the administration’s attack on our communities.”
Panella also expressed concern over the lack of acknowledgement that the California Values Act is a compromised bill— the act still allows for local law enforcement collaboration with ICE. “There are over 800 exceptions allowing for police collaboration with ICE. This includes for individuals committing misdemeanors. Imagine that your son or daughter committed a misdemeanor and was deported. This creates a two tiered systems that has a resemblance to Jim Crowe laws, and is unjust. When laws are unjust, we as a community need to create justice!”