After DACA announcement, Gina Rodriguez steps up


After DACA announcement, Gina Rodriguez steps up

By Ariana Portalatin

The Trump administration announced the removal of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program Sept. 5, which protected nearly 800,000 undoc- umented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Trump condemned former President Barack Obama for passing the program as an executive order and gave Congress six months to find a solution.

In my Sept. 5 column, I wrote about how far celebrity activism will go fol- lowing MTV’s “Video Music Awards,” pointing to plenty of public figures using their platform for a greater good but questioning if that was all we would see. While many celebrities and politicians publicly spoke out against the DACA decision, only one of them seems to have been fully prepared to fight against injustices on a public platform.

Gina Rodriguez, an American actress of Puerto Rican descent, is a known activist for human rights, particularly concerning young women and those within the Latino and Hispanic communities. She was honored with the Young Humanitarian Award in 2016 for her launch of the We Will Foundation, an organization focused on arts education and scholarship funding for young women coming from low-income backgrounds. She is also recognized for her role in the television series “Jane the Virgin” and in her #MovementMondays social media campaign.

While Rodriguez joins other public figures and celebrities who share their thoughts on Twitter, this isn’t all she does. Instead, she follows statements
up with actions. On Sept. 6 it was announced that Rodriguez is set to pro- duce multiple series about immigration on the CBS and CW networks. One of the shows, called “Illegal,” is based on co-executive producer and writer Rafael Agustín’s life as a former undocumented student. Another, called “Have Mercy,” is based on the German short film “Dr. Illegal,” and centers around a Latina doctor and her career struggles after immigrating to Miami.

Following the announcement, Rodriguez wrote on Twitter, “For years this is all I wanted to do. Bring Latino stories to the screen to create love, tolerance and empathy.”

Agustín announced the news on his Twitter with #DefendDACA. After one Twitter user wrote to Rodriguez saying, “We def need one on Afro-Latinx identity and I know you will bring it,” Rodriguez replied, “That’s what ‘Have Mercy’ is, trust mama, I am well aware of what we are missing and where I want to contribute.”

Rodriguez is a clear example of someone with a platform using it not only to their advantage but to the advantage of others, which is why she is often praised by her fans for her good character and philanthropy. Rodriguez’s many projects will educate others on undocumented immigrants’ struggles, amid many misconceptions about the DACA program, including the mistaken belief DACA recipients do not pay taxes and that the program grants citizenship.

Currently, there are thousands who call the U.S. home and are worried about their future—facing the possibility of being sent back to a country they have never known, away from the opportunities they have here. It is great that there are many people who support them, but it is even greater that Rodriguez uses her platform to take action against a decision that has the potential to ruin lives and tear apart families.