The Defend Affirmative Action Party/Fighting for Immigrant Rights and Equality, or DAAP/FIRE, announced three senate candidates for the spring 2019 ASUC election Saturday, with one candidate also running for an executive position.
This election season will be campus sophomore Stephanie Gutierrez’s second time running for ASUC president. She will also be running for a senate seat, along with campus senior Haile Amonson and campus junior Esteban Tabares.
All of the DAAP/FIRE candidates are running on the same partywide platform that moves to begin a national movement to impeach President Donald Trump, fight for the rights of immigrants, defend the rights and dignity of women and fight for the future of quality public K-12 education, according to Gutierrez.
“We want to send a message to the immigrant community that we will stand in solidarity with them, and we will fight for them,” Gutierrez said.
Since fall 2017, Gutierrez, who is studying American studies and sociology, has worked as a national organizer for the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN.
Gutierrez said she has helped intervene against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, raids and called press conferences to protest and alert the community of ICE presence. Gutierrez also organized the Don’t Walk On By campaign to educate the community about the course of action to take when dealing with ICE.
Gutierrez said she believes her experience will help her make effective changes if elected to the ASUC.
“The ASUC is often criticized for doing things that aren’t relevant to students and doing things that don’t have visible changes, so what I want to bring to the senate is real demands on national-level issues … that go hand in hand with everyday issues,” Gutierrez said.
Amonson, who is studying art history, believes her concentration in anthropology and her background of living in multiple places throughout her life help her better understand students and thus help voice their needs.
Amonson said she had never planned to run for ASUC office upon starting her college career, but she felt an obligation to stand up for, defend and protect people. If elected, Amonson said she hopes to stand up for human rights and environmental protection.
“I think it’s important when you’re in this position that you care about other people, and you’re open to other ways of life, you stand for equality and you really relate to people,” Amonson said.
Tabares, who is studying engineering physics, said he believes being an engineer allows him to be objective in the campus community and also said the fact that he is not running for the ASUC to “put it on my resume” makes him a viable candidate for the election. Tabares said that “multiculturalism makes Berkeley work” and added that he wants to help diversify UC Berkeley by representing the undocumented immigrant community and voicing its concerns. Tabares added that he is running for a senate seat to fight racism on campus.
As a party, one of the ways DAAP/FIRE aims to help protect the undocumented immigrant community is by making Eshleman Hall a sanctuary, according to Tabares.
“I’ve seen hatred and racism increase, and people just ignore it and say it’s not a big deal, but it is a big deal,” Tabares said. “I want to run for senator to do everything I can do to stop it, even if it’s in my local chapter.”
Voting for the ASUC elections will be held April 8, 9 and 10.