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First Undocu5k in the CSU system held at CSULB raises $11,000

Over 100 participants showed up to support undocumented students and families.

Runners come out to support undocumented students at the first ever Undocu5k held at CSULB on Nov. 19.

Yasmin Cortez

Runners come out to support undocumented students at the first ever Undocu5k held at CSULB on Nov. 19.

Elizabeth Campos, Staff Writer

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Runners wearing tennis shoes and shirts that read “Breaking Fronteras: Undocu5k” were seen across the Cal State Long Beach campus Nov. 19 at the first ever Undocu5k, an event organized by the CSULB Latino Student Union.

Senior anthropology major and one of the lead organizers of the 5k, Gaby Hernandez, said the event raised a total of $11,000 with both registration fees and donations. Proceeds will go to scholarships for undocumented students. She also said that there are plans to hold the event next year.

An approximate 300 participants began running at 8:30 a.m. after a series of warm-up workouts done to upbeat music.

Students, families and professors gathered outside the College of Business Administration building to begin running the 5k.

The race’s starting point was outside CBA and went behind the Horn Center, near Engineering buildings and around the softball and baseball fields.

The last running section was from the Walter Pyramid back to the CBA building.

Over 75 volunteers were spread throughout the running route, handing out water and snacks to runners. Volunteers also cheered on runners while holding signs that read “Education, not deportation” and “Keep going!”

Third year political science major Lynda Aguayo introduced Chicano and Latino Studies and Political Science professor Alfredo Carlos and Undocumedia’s executive director Ivan Ceja, the guest speakers of the event.

University president Jane Close Conoley was in attendance as well. Like Carlos and Ceja, Conoley emphasised the controversy that president-elect Donald Trump’s promises of deportation have caused.

“I’m worried about you, but I’m confident in you,” Conoley said. “You have already overcome and your families have overcome incredible challenges – this is the next one.”

In light of Donald Trump’s presidential election, Conoley encouraged unity in the community.

“I know you’re worried, I’m worried too,” Conoley said. “But I see that you’re unapologetic and unafraid, so I say, be unrelenting. Stay together.”

Other university staff such as international studies, Chicano and Latino studies and political science professors attended the event.

Political Science professor Alfredo Carlos said that while financial support is important for undocumented students, public support is also important, particularly after the hate crimes taking place in light of the presidential election.

According to a USA Today article titled “Post-election spate of hate crimes worse than post-9/11, experts say,’’ by Melanie Eversley, there has been a spike in hate incidents across the country since the presidential election.

Some of the incidents listed in the article include black children being told to “get to the back of the bus” and Latinx children being taunted by other students about the wall Trump promised to build between Mexico and the United States.

“I think is important for us to come out and say, you know, we’re not going to allow that,” Carlos said, “these are our family members, these are our community members and we care about their well-being.”

Throughout the event, Los Frakasos de Playa Larga, a band formed by CSULB alumni, Grupo Folklorico Mexica and Mariachi de CSULB performed regional Mexican music while participants danced after the 5k.

Hernandez said she was pleased with the outcome.

She said that organizers were inspired by the need and explained that the deportation of Jose Alvarez last spring was one of the main motivations to bring awareness of what the undocumented community goes through.

On Feb. 21, Alvarez was pulled over for a broken headlight by CSULB police. When Alvarez’s driver’s license was run for a wants and warrants check, it triggered a hit in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement database. Alvarez was later deported.

Furthermore, Ceja said Undocumedia shared the event on its social media platforms and drew attention from people all over the country.

“People from other parts of the country wished there was something like this going on closer to them,” he said. “I think this is only going to get bigger.”

Veronica Nuñez, participant and mother of Undocu5k organizer Carlos Guijarro, read a poem dedicated to teachers who push students to do better regardless of their immigration status.

Nuñez, Carlos and Conoley dedicated their words to the undocumented students encouraging them to pursue goals regardless of their status and the current political climate.

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