BONNIE JAMES | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
WSU’s Undocumented Initiatives is hosting a workshop from 5-6:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 to encourage student voting as the 2020 election approaches.
The workshop educates students and staff on the importance of voting and the impact every vote has on the undocumented community, said Claudia Skinner, second-year graduate student focusing on American studies and culture.
The workshop will consist of speakers who are undocumented or allies of the undocumented community, she said.
Eduardo Castañeda-Díaz, Washington House of Representatives candidate, said he will speak about the perseverance of undocumented people, as well as the community and service they provide to communities. He will also talk about ways undocumented people can support political candidates even though they cannot vote.
“It’s important for documented Washingtonians to realize the power of their votes,” he said. “While it may not directly affect them, it correlates to the policies made that affect workplace protections, education protections and the opportunities to apply for Visas.”
One of Castañeda-Díaz’s goals is to motivate the younger generation to vote, get involved with politics at all levels and make changes in their community, he said.
The workshop will amplify the voices of undocumented people and show their perspective of life to others, said Linda Vargas, senior civil engineering major.
It is important to undocumented immigrants that people vote because it is the only way to elect candidates who will introduce legislation that create pathways to citizenship for undocumented people, Skinner said.
“When we have candidates that are willing to work with us to figure out how we can best provide for these communities, it saves lives,” she said.
As a DACA recipient, Vargas said she will speak about the importance of the program and how the upcoming election will affect her and the undocumented community.
Education about the undocumented community and their perspective is important for understanding their issues, she said.
“You have to be able to live in it to understand, and it can be very frustrating for our community to feel hopeless about our future,” she said. “It’s hard to have hope for a future that is never guaranteed or never given.”
Undocumented individuals are encouraged to speak about their experiences as the event is still accepting speakers. They are allowed to speak anonymously or have someone speak on their behalf during the event to protect them from possible harassment or deportation, she said.
There will be people at the event who can answer questions students have about the voting process, she said.
More information on the workshop can be found on the group’s Instagram page.