MIAMI, April 29, 2011– As the Miami Dade College, North Campus, Spring 2011 graduating class prepares to cross the stage for their diplomas, students await the scheduled appearance of United States President Barack Obama. Miami Dade College, which is one of the nation’s largest colleges providing higher education opportunities to more than 70,000 students this past year, will celebrate the graduation of 2,000 or more students from North Campus tonight.
It is a proud institution that believes “Opportunity Changes Everything” and offers this opportunity to all students, regardless of immigration status. As the college welcomes President Barack Obama tonight, college graduates across south Florida wonder what he is doing to stop the abusive deportation system, and its separation of families. Students gather to tell president, "Change Takes Courage:Executive Action Speaks Louder Than Words."
WHAT: Students Tell President Barack Obama, “Executive Action Speaks Louder Than Words” at Commencement Address
WHEN: Today, April 29, 2011 from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
WHERE: 400 Southeast 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL
(in front of the Hyatt Hotel)
Miami Dade College graduate this semester and Trail of DREAMs walker Juan Rodriguez: “Miami Dade College has given me every opportunity to further my dreams towards completing a college education to give back to this community and country that I love. However, President Obama continues to support an increase in deportations and is ignoring the immigrant youth to whom he promised a just and humane path to legalization.”
With half or more of the graduating students from North Campus identifying as Hispanic or Latino, immigrant advocates question what the President’s message is to these students with family members deported, friends being detained, and Arizona racial profiling legislation spreading across the country under the watch of the Obama Administration’s “tough on enforcement” policies. Florida is doing its part in trying to hold off current state legislative proposals HB7089 and SB2040 that are expected to cause a $45 billion annual loss per year to Florida.
Stephanie Wall, who will be sitting in the auditorium listening to the President give words of advice for graduates, shares: “What am I supposed to do once I walk across the stage where the President will speak at graduation? The popular culture that Obama has supported and sustained towards immigrants contradicts his policies that will only criminalize me and people I love because of the color of my skin.”
While undocumented graduates at the ceremony fear the loss of their diplomas for speaking out at the graduation itself, other students, youth and community leaders will gather outside to protest the President’s misleading relationship with Latinos.