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DACA | From the Editor | Taylor Kirby

Photo credit: Bobby Jones

96,000

What would you do if you won the lottery? is becomes the central question of In the Heights’ first act, and every character hypothetically spends their $96,000 differently. One dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic, the very same country his parents left to give him a better life—and the country that will connect him to his legacy after their deaths. Another raps about investing in a business degree. The youngest character’s determination to use the money to halt gentrification and fund political demonstration is labeled as “cute” by his older, road weary peers.

A few weeks ago, we took turns answering this question in the Sentry office. Some people wanted to abandon the workplace grind and travel the world forever; I waxed poetic about how much easier it would be to work for 80 hours a week at an unpaid publishing internship in New York City if I scored the right scratcher. Something about watching this musical, however, gave this line of questioning a darker edge.

In the Heights is the story of a group of Latinx immigrants who spend every day working harder than most, only to continue living in poverty but the opportunity to be poor in America is what beckoned their parents toward the Statue of Liberty in the first place. For some, to be poor in New York City is what winning the lottery looks like.

I began thinking about what other shapes a figurative lottery could take, and while the musical danced on before me, I thought about the millions of Dreamers who stumbled across a winning ticket on June 15, 2012 the day the Obama administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. DACA opened doors to college degrees and legal work permits, equipping hard working immigrants with the tools they needed to further support the American economy and contribute to the only country they called home.

Now, ask yourself this question: what happens when you win the lottery, spend the money on your wildest dreams, and get told five years later that the state’s going to need every dollar paid back? What happens when the thing that gave you power suddenly makes you more vulnerable than you ever were before?

In the coming weeks, the Sentry will be dedicating a lot of our page space to the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program, because nearly every person on our
25-person staff pitched some variation of the policy’s consequences. We will look at the decision through a national lens and break down how this affects students on our
tri-institutional campus. We will share resources for support and solidarity. True to our name, we will act as a guardian for student interests.

If you have anything to say about the DACA program, we ask that you visit us in the office either during our pitch meetings or our standard office hours to speak with us on the record or off. If you visit our website, you can also leave an anonymous comment under our “Submit a Story Idea” tab. We hope to hear from you either way.

Taylor Kirby
Taylor Kirby

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