Isabella Hudziak, Special Assignments Reporter
A new club entitled “We the People” will start this semester. This club will invite students to learn about immigration laws and exclusion policies in the United States and how they can take this information into being informed citizens.
The initial focus of the club will be on the 14th Amendment, addressing any issues a person might face if they were born in the United States or gained citizenship in the United States and how they have been treated as a point of controversy.
This club, started by Kristy Liang from the Utica College Nursing Program in Florida to become a travel nurse, and Coordinator of Online Anatomy and Physiology Elizabeth Kurtz, will introduce students to the importance of immigration laws and the exclusionary acts still in place today.
- Utica College deciding on making COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for students this fall
- TRiO Student Support Services launches at Utica College
- Softball team off to strong start after two-year hiatus
- (POV) Utica College Men’s Hockey: How to be on the right and wrong side of history in one night
- An Hour Abroad: The differences between student support in the U.S. and Finland
“I chose this topic because a lot of hate crimes have been happening,” Liang said. “There are anti-hate groups for Asian Americans and the Black Live Matters community. However, there isn’t a club that specifically combines all of us together. This club will bring optimism, enlightenment and encouragement to be proud of where we come from and who we are.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought anti-Asian mentality to the forefront of society in a multitude of ways: the use of slurs, physical assaults and murder. More than 500 incidents of discrimination toward the Asian community have occurred since January 2021, according to NBC News.
Liang referenced the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which lasted for 10 years. This act mandated that Chinese immigrants needed to gain governmental certification to immigrate, which created a loophole that refused most from entering the country. Those already in the country were severely limited and denied citizenship with the threat of deportation by courts.
“I felt there needed to be justice for racism,” Liang said. “The route of all this racism is being taught by people who lack knowledge of history on immigration laws. I feel the way things are going now, history is repeating itself.”
Learning about immigration laws and exclusion policies expands understanding of the United States government in the wake of misinformation from the pandemic. The initial focus of the club will be the 14th Amendment and promoting a way to discuss governmental policies with peers. The club promotes acknowledgment of the core historical racism that pervades today and how to indoctrinate acceptance in your own life.
“Our club will be involved in community events focusing on inclusion such as the Unity Walk,” said Kurtz, a Utica College alumni and faculty advisor for the new club. “We would like to hold information sessions about current exclusion policies that should be more openly discussed. We would also like to hold fundraising events to involve active club members with the local communities and use those funds to finance club activities.”
We the People will hold Zoom meetings, mass email groups and utilize social media outlets to spread love and knowledge. The name itself stands for a primary theme in the club: unity.
“We the people make up America, we the people learn from each other and we the people can make a difference in the world that has not been reached out to yet,” said Liang. “Students will gain a better understanding of reality and how we can fight together on immigration policies and hate crimes.”
The club will begin functioning once students have shown an interest in joining. The club needs a bulk of students to come from the UC campus since the President of the club is located at the Florida campus.
“We hope that students will gain a sense of the current political environment from the club,” said Kurtz. “A place to feel comfortable talking about current policy changes without negativity towards opposing opinions.”