SGA funding spurs Hispanic Heritage Month festivities

William Marlow, Staff Writer

The Student Government Association is partnering with student organizations and clubs after funding shortages threatened their projects.

SGA said it believes these groups strengthen the student voice and improve Samford’s community.

“They increase students’ educations, experiences and opportunities,” said James Hornsby, vice president of Senate.

The Senate dedicated $40,000 to student organizations and clubs. Individually, each group can receive up to $2,000 each semester.

“There are resources, but people have to look for them. It shouldn’t be that hard,” Hornsby said.

Organizations must request funding before being considered to qualify. Criteria include to be recognized by the university and a lack of Greek affiliation. The Senate then votes on whether or not to fund the organization.

The Senate allocated $500 to the Latino Student Organization for a Hispanic Heritage Month party taking place in Ben Brown on Oct. 6. Hispanic Heritage Month spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and celebrates the culture and national contributions of American citizens with Spanish or Latin American ancestral heritage.

SGA’s support ensures that Edgar Flores — president of the Latino Student Organization — and other Latino students can celebrate their cultural identities.

“I can express myself,” said Flores. “I’m proud of my heritage, but I love the U.S.”

Alongside the festivities, Flores hopes to inform students on campus about the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, or DACA.

DACA prevents the government from deporting approximately 790,000 undocumented children, according to the Pew Research Center.

Flores is an American citizen, but his parents are undocumented.

“I’m here legally, but it affects me knowing my parents don’t have the same rights,” he said.

Flores recognizes that immigration is a complex issue. He supports border security but not if it sacrifices the American dream.

“America is the only place you can acquire that freedom,” he said. However, when DACA ended, so did Flores’ dream.

Flores believes racism also impacted the debate. Students discuss it in class, but Flores also witnesses it in his hometown of Boaz, Alabama. Locals demanded that undocumented immigrants leave. They saw them as a burden. Flores disagrees.

“People don’t realize they’re your friends, teachers and coworkers,” he said. “They fill important roles in the community.”

However, acceptance depended on a person’s origin. Flores respects his parents even though they’re undocumented.

“I never saw that as making them less, but rather society made them less,” he said.

Despite others’ views, Flores believes his parents made the right decision because he’s at Samford studying computer science. While at Samford, inspiration by Martin Luther King Jr. spurred Flores into action.

“Citizens should obey laws, but what if the laws are against the citizens?” he asked.

However, rather than prioritizing laws, he is working to change perceptions. Due to SGA’s funds, Flores hopes to eradicate racism through knowledge. He encourages events about racial diversity.

“Protests quickly send a message, but it’s a shallow message. A message that changes people’s minds has to be deeper and takes longer,” Flores said.

He also transforms minds through friendships. After Flores reveals his past to others, they’re stunned.

“I’m the counterexample to their presumptions,” he said. “We’re all humans. We all struggle.”

Student organizations can request SGA funding by completing the 2017-18 Senate Funding Request form located on SGA’s website.

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