Professor Spotlight: The Fight for Equality and Justice

While it may not seem obvious, returning students this semester can see the change brought about on campus by both those professors who have left us and those who have quite recently joined the UW-Parkside community. Academic departments throughout the campus have both lost and gained professors; while some may yearn for the professors of yore, the fresh faces bring about a certain atmosphere of diversification.

One such professor is Jennifer Correa, a new Sociology professor who joined UW-Parkside at the beginning of the semester. Enjoying her stay thus far at UW-Parkside, Correa pointed out that one of the aspects of the campus that drew her here was the diversity the campus yields. Correa, originally from Texas, returned to her home state on 10 October for a conference that was held at the University of Texas at Austin titled “Contest Terrain: Undocumented Migration and Enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico Border.” Correa presented her original research amongst others in the same field from around the country.

Correa presented her dissertation research that investigated the construction of a barrier/wall under the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Not only did Correa focus on the law aspect of the issue, but her main focus dealt with the consequences and impacts on humans because of this wall. For example, the barrier bisected citizen’s properties, isolating them from their cities, as well as displacing them from their homes entirely. Her research looked at those neglected and unheard voices of those along the border.

“I wanted to take a closer look at what was going on,” Correa stated. “They [the citizens affected by the wall] felt as if they were living in an occupied war zone.”

While it may not seem as if these issues can affect the lives of students at UW-Parkside, the reality of the situation is that these problems affect more than those citizens in Texas who live along the border. Correa hopes to help students and faculty see that these laws can be harmful even in Wisconsin, and one of her main goals is to begin a dialogue to discuss how these laws could affect the UW-Parkside community. One of the biggest ways these laws can impact the community is through displaced families who have to see one or more of their undocumented family members deported from the country.

During the interview, Correa brought up the Dream Act, an Act which has interested students at UW-Parkside, many of whom hope to form an organization in support of the Act and long to be a part of equality and justice in their community.

“This isn’t only a question of civil rights,” said Correa, “but a question of human rights, as well.”

Correa teaches Intro to Sociological Theory and Race and Ethnic Relations this semester. Next semester, she will be teaching Latinos and Latinas in America.

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