A candle-light vigil was held to support undocumented youth who were arrested.
On April 7, family and friends of Maria Marroquín, 23, participated in a candle-light vigil outside of Sen. Pat Toomey’s [R-Pa.] Philadelphia district office in Center City to honor Marroquín and six other undocumented youth who were arrested in Atlanta on April 5.
The seven undocumented youth were arrested for holding up traffic in a protest near Georgia State University to raise awareness about immigration policies and the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
Marroquín is the co-founder of DreamActivist.org’s Pennsylvania chapter.
“We are here in front of Toomey’s office to make sure he knows we will ask him what side he is standing on,” Mark Cortez, Marroquín’s boyfriend, said. “We want everyone here in Pennsylvania to have the right to go to college.”
“This past summer, when I went down [to Washington, D.C.] with Maria and more people like me, it gave me hope and a chance that I could be something after high school,” said Keran Murillo, a senior from Hatboro Horsham High School, who has rallied alongside Marroquín. “I knew I had to fight on. And I want to thank Maria for giving me that opportunity because if it wasn’t for her, I really don’t know what I would have done after high school.”
“I thought [the vigil] was beautiful. I am so inspired by these people,” Jerry Zurek, a professor at Cabrini College, said. “My breath is taken away [by] their courage.”
Zurek has been following the situation ever since Marroquín came in and spoke with his class.
“Ever since then it has changed all of their ways of thinking,” Zurek said.
“I checked the Facebook event, and it said about 15-20 people would show up, but this is such a great turnout for a last-minute planned event,” Murillo said. “I am so happy that people came out to support us.”
Ashley Pawlowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.