Students unite in peaceful protest

Courtesy of Mari Nerbovig

Lauren Saizan

As Mari Nerbovig participated in the School of the Americas Watch, a weekend-long event, her constant view was a sea of white crosses.
“It’s a heart-wrenching story, the tales of all of these immigrants who have lost their homes, families, and even their lives, but the community behind the movement holds this unwavering love that they use to change the world,” Nerbovig said.
At the School of the Americas Watch from Nov. 20 to 22, a group of Loyola students travelled to Columbus, Ohio and Fort Benning, Georgia to participate. The crosses, which represented “Los Desaparecidos,” The Disappeared, were held while Nerbovig, music therapy and psychology sophomore, and others marched in peaceful protest regarding immigration.
Nerbovig said that the weekend was filled with activities and information sessions dealing with different issues on immigration in addition to the protests.
She said that the first protest took place at Stewart Detention Center and featured speakers who had been detained at the center.
“We took a moment, as a group of about 1,400, to scream and cheer as loud as we could so the people inside of the center could hear us. The people inside have gone on hunger strikes to protest their miserable living situation, and many live in solitary confinement. As a group, we wanted them to hear us, and know that there are people who care about them and their plight,” Nerbovig said.
During the second protest, in Fort Benning, Nerbovig joined the other protestors in picking up white crosses in honor of “Los Desaparecidos.” The names and ages of “Los Desaparecidos” were then sung out, an experience that Nerbovig recounts as being incredibly moving.
“At the end of the march, we placed all of the crosses on the gates to Fort Benning where they laid over the ‘U.S. Property, No Trespassing’ signs that lined the fence. This is the sentiment that cost these immigrants their lives; they tried to flee the political persecution they face in their country, but the U.S., the place which caused their political turmoil, refused them entry,” Nerbovig said.
Nerbovig said that the movement was an incredible and enlightening experience.
“Both of these moments are amazing examples of peaceful protest. They demonstrate unity and the passion of this movement to make change, peacefully,” Nerbovig said.