by Cindy Pena
Standing for three hours in 30-degree cold weather with nothing but underwear on and duct tape over your mouth is not easy. However, that did not stop Mariano Cardoso and about nine others from doing so.
Members of CHANGE held a silent protest at Central Connecticut State University’s Student Circle in support of Cardoso’s father who is facing deportation.
“My father, Mariano Cardoso Sr., is currently going through deportation, he is fighting to not get deported after 27 years of living here in the U.S. He is still being persecuted. No family should have to go through that,” Cardoso yelled to the crowd of about 50 individuals. “I work hard to be here, my parents have worked hard to be here. We have never asked anything from the government or from anyone.”
Victor Constanza, who held the sign “CHANGE for MARIANO,” was among the handful of students standing in support of Cardoso and his father.
“They don’t come here to ruin the country, they love this country. Mariano’s dad loves this country,” Constanza said.
Constanza, vice president of CHANGE, was the main figure in helping organize the protest. His goal was to bring awareness to the issue.
“What CHANGE has been doing this whole semester is to spread awareness so the two reasons we did the minimal clothing was because, one, we wanted to represent what immigrants go through. It’s cold and they would suffer these horrible conditions or sometimes they have to sleep outside for work in labor station for hours just to get someone to pick them up, so to represent the suffering of all immigrants,” Constanza said. “The second thing is it represents the message and grab the attention of the people.”
Brendan Kruh, president of the Student Government Association, also came out to support this cause.
“CHANGE asked me to come and because of the fact that I am a white man who comes from privilege and in the position as the president, they thought it would be strong to come out and advocate in the behalf of them,” Kruh said. “I think one of the main purposes of the protest is to really stand up for our students, for our community and for our country.”
CCSU student Nicholas Collazo was walking past the Student Center Circle unaware of what was happening and stopped by to see what the demonstration was about.
He soon realized the protest was for the Dreamers and said he was glad that these students are making the sacrifice that can ultimately lead to immigration reform.
“Them taking their clothes off definitely is going to raise eyes. It’s just a small step but a small step is better than no step at all,” Collazo said. “A little step can go a long way just to bring attention to the cause. The more people that find out, the better. Change has to happen somewhere, so why can’t it start at CCSU?”
Cardoso and Constanza hope that by students supporting these efforts and realizing that this national immigration issue is a local one as well, it can then lead them to advocate for immigration reform and help people like Cardoso’s father.
“I know that at the end of the day, there is people like you that are listening and that have the right to demand for the government to act justly because I cannot do it by myself. I cannot vote, I can’t speak for my government to act because it is not mine. But all of you that can listen to me all have the power, you all have the power that I wish my family and I had,” said Cardoso. “You can all vote to change this, I can’t do it without you. As of now, I have up to Dec. 12 to fight and give it everything so my father can stay in the country.”