Walking through Manhattan College’s quad this week, visitor will notice a new addition: a freestanding chain-link fence, about 30 yards long, covered in posters with pro-migrant slogans.
Sophomore Brianna DelSantos explained that the fence is a “mock border,” meant to represent a border between two countries that are divided and should be unified — like, she said, the borders between Mexico and the United States or Guatemala.
“There’s been a lot of violence at those borders, so we’re just trying to stand in solidarity with the pope as he travels to Mexico this week,” she said. “It just makes people aware… and supports the pope in all that he is trying to do for us.”
Other Catholic campuses around the country are making similar shows of solidarity as Pope Francis visits Mexico this week and makes historic trips to two border areas — the state of Chiapas, next to Guatemala, and Ciudad Juárez at the U.S. border. The pope has taken a strong stance in support of migrants across around the world, and Ms. DelSantos was happy to help spread his message.
“It’s just kind of in our nature. We’re all about social justice and human rights, so we wanted to show that we support all people,” said Ms. DelSantos, who is a campus ambassador for the humanitarian agency Catholic Relief Services.
“In light of the presidential election and all this rhetoric that keeps popping up, I think we just want to remind our community that we are inclusive, that it is in our Lasallian nature to work in solidarity and in social justice,” added senior Natalie Heinitz, referring to her college’s Lasallian code of ethics. “So as we have this flurry of crazy climate that’s going on and you’re not really sure which way to turn, we hope to start a dialogue and a discussion for all students to just talk about these important issues.”
Ms. DelSantos said the fence, which has been up since Feb. 12 and will stay on the quad through this week, has been successful at drawing students’ attention.