- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 21, 2015

San Francisco State University (SFSU) held a special graduation ceremony on Sunday for students who are living in the U.S. illegally.

The public university’s first annual “Beyond Borders Graduation” — hosted by the student organization Improving Dreams, Equity, Access and Success (IDEAS) — recognized 25 undocumented students who were able to share their personal stories about immigration, Campus Reform reported.

“It’s more intimate, so people tell their personal stories,” Nancy Jodaitis, adviser to IDEAS, told the Golden Gate Express. “The stories are all different, but the challenges and struggles are very similar, and this is a safe space for them to share.”

SFSU’s official graduation ceremony is still slated for Friday.

Filmmaker and activist Jose Antonio Vargas, the keynote speaker at the Beyond Borders ceremony, spoke for almost 15 minutes and mentioned several in attendance by name.

“When we talk about Dreamers, we forget about the ones that didn’t even make it,” Mr. Vargas said during his speech, Campus Reform reported. “I’m talking about our older brothers and our older sisters. I’m talking about the older cousins and the older friends that decided, you know, that it’s too hard. It was too hard. And I hope that you’re thinking about them today and that you’re holding them in your heart. And I hope that you know how much you are loved and how much sacrifice went to having you here and that no piece of paper, no piece of paper, not even that diploma, can stop you from being your fullest possible self.”

SFSU spokesman Jonathan Morales told Campus Reform that funding for the ceremony came from donations and “other non-university funds.”

On its Facebook page, IDEAS asked supporters to help fund the ceremony by buying $15 T-shirts that read “Undocumented & Unafraid” and “Education is a Human Right.”

Campus Reform notes that at a previous event called “Undocu-Night,” IDEAS gave away patches to students that read “Migration is Beautiful” and “[Expletive] Your Borders.”

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