Students raise their voices for friends near and far

Students raising their voices

UMSL students (from left) Alexis Ramos, Luimil Negrón, Sara Ricárdez, Rahmah Ghazal and Abby Eaker were among hundreds of St. Louisans protesting an executive order governing visas and entry into the United States this past weekend. (Photo by Evie Hemphill)

When University of Missouri–St. Louis doctoral student Luimil Negrón got wind of an immigration order impacting people from seven predominantly Muslim countries late last week, her reaction was, as she puts it, “intensely personal.”

“Through my work, my studies and my personal life I have come in contact with people from every part of the world,” says Negrón, who leads UMSL’s Latino recruitment efforts. “My best friend when I was 11 years old was Iranian. I have several Syrian students that I work with. And I know more than a few Cuban refugees.”

She also works with a lot of students who are Mexican descendants and, a Puerto Rico native herself, “knows their plights and their struggles.”

“I personally feel that it is my duty as an American to really let my voice be heard on this issue and stand by my friends because I can,” says Negrón, whose doctoral studies in the College of Education are focused on global education and leadership. “I also believe to the core of my being that our nation is experiencing an identity crisis. It has forgotten that this country was and is made up of immigrants and that their numbers are what makes this country great.

“I showed up this weekend to be a reminder of this and really to be there because I had to be there.”

She wasn’t alone. Fellow Tritons Alexis Ramos, Sara Ricárdez, Rahmah Ghazal and Abby Eaker joined the protest alongside her.


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