The Undocumented Experience at MVC

by Salonda Johnson

Students and staff watching "Documented" by Jose Antonio Vargas.


  Understanding the undocumented experience was the topic at this years annual One Book, One College event on Thursday October 5th at Moreno Valley College.

Students and staff joined in the Student Academic Services main hall as they waited to hear and learn about the lives of immigrants around the world including those in the community.  

Math and Science Major, Jazmin Chavez states why she came to the event,“ My English teacher told us about the event, and she wants us to gain information about how undocumented people are and what they go through with reading the book, Lives in Limbo”

Lives in Limbo is a novel written by Robert G. Gonzales, which goes into depth about being undocumented and coming as well as living in America using his and other personal experiences.

As free copies were given out as you walked into the event, the evening started with a reading of “forward”, “preface” and going through certain points in the first chapter of the book.

Discussion followed afterwards, which included the debriefing of the poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes and how it relates to the reading.

The event continues as the showing of the documentary, “Documented” by Jose Antonio Vargas began.

After the film, Students and staff came together to have a discussion about the film, tying it in with the book and personal experience.

Chavez said  “Personally, my family is from Mexico so they did come here to find opportunities, so,  to see how they had to struggle, find ways to make it work and help their kids and to send them to school..it affected me”.

This was one out of four events for the One Book, One college series for the following conversation. The first part, which was September 20th,  covered information on DACA and released information for students who are in need of and wanted to know resources to help others.   

As for this part of the event, it dug deep and left emotional responses from watching the documentary by Vargas and his struggles of being an immigrant from the Phillipines.

The next two parts of the event continued the discussion of Lives in Limbo with reading of a essay “Tell me How it ends”by Valeria Luiselli, which dives right  into the last event in which the author himself of Live in Limbo, Roberto G. Gonzalez talk about the book.

Committee chair of One Book Dr. Kathryn Stevenson stated, after the events are done with, she wants people to take from the experience, “ I want students to know that what causes pain in their lives, I want to them to address  problems, to find their critical voice and confidence, to build among their community so they can strive upon their academic pursuits”.

After the undocumented experience events, workshops will be provided for those who want to conduct their own research of immigration for the One Book Project sponsored by One book and the First Year experience with a cash prize.

Stevenson continues by stating what she wishes to happen beyond the conversation at Moreno Valley College, “ When we learn about problems in academia the next step is always solution, we have next generation of people are starting their academic journey here and when they leave, they’ll have the knowledge and understanding to change this society ”.

The next One Book, One college event will be held October 19th ,12:00- 3:00 PM  in the SAS building in room 121. To RVSP go to Eventbite.com or check student emails from administration for further information.

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