While protestors and activists used Monday’s massive rally at Grant Park to highlight immigration reform, the West Side’s only city college used the occasion to extend educational opportunities to potential U.S. and non U.S.-born students.
Much of Monday’s rally focused on U.S. immigration policy, and the response by thousands of undocumented foreign-born citizens to threats by politicians looking to crack down on illegal immigration.
But Malcolm X College sent out faculty to the rally at Union Park, Lake Street and Ashland Avenue, looking to hand out information concerning one of America’s greatest assets: an education.
“Education is the key for all of us,” said Ghingo Brooks, Malcolm X College vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Services.
Thirteen MXC faculty members visited Union Park Monday morning, where thousands of participants gathered a 9 a.m. Protestors marched from Union Park to Grant Park by the city’s lakefront, joining more than 400,000 revelers in the largest protest in the city’s history.
Before the crowd could leave Union Park, the small MXC group passed out 400 “pluggers,” about the size of an index card, with the school’s address, phone number, website. One side was printed in English, the other side Spanish.
“Instead of passing out flyers or a [catalogue] that’s big and hard to carry, we thought, let’s just pass out a plugger, something with the college’s name and information it, that they can put in their pocket,” said Brooks.
Brooks said the college’s administrators came up with the idea last Friday.
“We said, ‘Well, this is an opportunity to reach out not only to those who were marching but anyone needing an education to get ahead in life,'” he said. “What better way to celebrate democracy than to get an education?”
Brooks noted that while some MXC students were probably involved in the march, no students were involved in passing out pluggers. Brooks was also impressed by the show of unity among immigrant marchers on Monday.
“They were able to get 400,000 people out there. Could we have gotten our people out there to shut the city down?” he wondered.
MXC, a two-year community college, has a student enrollment of more than 15,000, according to its 2005 annual report. Hispanics represent the second largest student population at 28 percent. Blacks, roughly 60 percent, are the largest.
Bernard Williams, MXC’s public relations and marketing director, said the school’s effort Monday was an outreach to all races.
“What this does is help us fulfill our mission to provide a quality education to all students regardless of race, color or ethnicity.”