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Davis, California

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Davis community comes together in support of DACA

Community members of all ages rally together in candlelight vigil to extend support to DACA recipients

The Davis community gathered at the “Home is Here” rally in support of DACA on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The rally was organized by the Davis Phoenix Coalition and the Unitarian Universalist Church.

DACA, an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an Obama-era program that defers deportation for young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. without documentation. The program grants these individuals the ability to live and work in the U.S. — DACA status lasts for two years before it must be renewed.

There are almost 800,000 DACA recipients, also referred to as Dreamers, in the U.S. And roughly 600 Dreamers attend UC Davis. 

In Sept. 2017, President Donald J. Trump declared the program unconstitutional. Tuesday was the first day of Supreme Court hearings concerning the legality of DACA — with the UC serving as one of the key plaintiffs in the hearing. 

Of the nine sitting Supreme Court Justices, five are identified as conservative. As of Tuesday, the conservative justices seemed prepared to side with the Trump administration in the recission of DACA. 

In the case, the Trump administration argued that not only is DACA unlawful, but the President has the power to terminate the program regardless of legality. 

About 100 people attended Tuesday’s event in Davis to support DACA. People of all ages and ethnicities were present, and many held signs with statements such as “Their home is here,” “We support our Dreamers” and “Welcome the Stranger.”

Alexandra Lee-Jobe, a Davis community member of 20 years, is actively involved in the Unitarian Universalist Church and helped found the Davis Phoenix Coalition. 

“They give a voice to the families that come to this country for their children,” Lee-Jobe said. “Many of them came as young children, and their parents just wanted them to have a better future.”

Anoosh Jorjorian, another Davis community member in the crowd and member of the Davis Phoenix Coalition, shared similar sentiments.

“I’m sure that my children are going to school with DACA recipients,” Jorjorian said. “I know there are many DACA recipients at UC Davis. A lot of those students have graduated and now they’re our colleagues, our neighbors and they’ve been living here their entire lives. This is their home, and they absolutely deserve to stay.”

As the night progressed, organizers passed out lit candles to the crowd in recognition of DACA recipients. A series of speakers, including Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza, delivered speeches from onstage.

“The Court is looking at a lot of legal arguments, a lot of technical arguments,” Provenza said. “But if the court will look at the fundamental principles of our Constitution and the fundamental principles of the country that we live in, then they’ll decide in favor of the DACA students.”

Other speakers included Davis Mayor Pro Tempore Gloria Partida, Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor, former Yolo County Superintendent Jesse Ortiz, Rabbi Greg Wolfe, UC Davis Law Professor Brian Soucek and Ignacio Alarcon, the assistant director of the Undocumented Student Center at UC Davis.

The evening included performances by the Davis sect of the Raging Grannies, a singing ensemble of local “Grannies.” Song lyrics were passed out into the crowd, and soon everyone was waving candles and singing “Songs for Dreamers.”

“So raise your voice in song for Lady Liberty,” the Grannies and the crowd sang together. “Who raised her lamp in welcome at our shore. Because compassion made this nation strong and free, we’ll never turn our backs, we’ll never shut the door!”

Afterward, Davis Poet Laureate James Lee-Jobe read an original poem he wrote for the event. 

“The measure of a good person is in kindness and love,” Lee-Jobe read. “Why should our government be any different?”

Written by: Eden Winniford –– city@theaggie.org


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