The Illinois Department of Human Rights and SIU recognized those who promote fairness and equality for Hispanic Heritage Month.
SIU student Oneida Vargas is one of several recognized. She's a Mexican immigrant whose family struggled to get by once arriving in the U.S. when she was just a baby. In high school, Vargas accidentally sat in on an SIU recruitment event and discovered that though she is undocumented, she could still go to SIU - with a full scholarship.
"Little did I know, that not only would I gain the opportunity to go to college at SIUC, but I would also find an extremely loving and supportive community. When we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, and the state of Illinois, we're celebrating the stories and the experiences of a community that all share one common factor: resilience. It's the reason I'm standing here today."
For the Illinois Bicentennial, the Department of Human Rights seeks 200 municipalities to pledge support for fairness and equality. Both Carbondale and Marion have taken the pledge.