WACO, TX — A first-of-its-kind cross-cultural fundraiser surprises the Waco Immigrants Alliance by funding their cause.
Tackling the highly debated and scrutinized subject of immigration, two Baylor associations came together to bridge the gap.
"It's hard to go to a school where not a lot of people look like you so you strive to find this community and branch out so other people can find it too," said Christine Phan, External VP of the Vietnamese Student Association at Baylor.
"When we start to realize the rise in Asian hate and sentiment it starts to make you feel more reflective on yourself and you start to feel pride," said Phan.
"I'm trying to discover more of my cultural heritage outside of what my family knows, how it is for other families and how they grew up," said Leonardo Robles, VP of the Hispanic Student Association at Baylor.
"We should try to empower each other in every way we can," said Robles.
Both, second-generation Americans, Phan and Robles, banned together to create a new tradition and surprise the Waco Immigrants Alliance with funding.
"Leo had the idea of a dodge ball tournament," said Phan.
"I honestly watched the movie and was like this looks like fun, anyone can play" laughed Robles.
Eight teams, of around 40 people raised nearly $900, every penny of which helps WIA with their efforts across the Waco community.
"They really put work into it, they called businesses before we knew anything about it," said Hope Mustakim with the Waco Immigrants Alliance, while smiling.
The Waco Immigrants Alliance comes to the aid of many in the community, like assisting deportation defense, standing alongside the many undocumented and immigrant people in Waco.
"We chose Waco Immigrants Alliance because immigration is an issue central to both of our cultures, a lot of our members come from families of immigrants, myself included, and we recognize the importance these organizations have, including nonprofit work," said Phan.
"I think it shows a student group taking initiative to be that bridge," said Mustakim.
The Vietnamese Student Association and Hispanic Student Association at Baylor hope this dodge ball tournament is the first of many, supporting a cause close to their hearts.
"At the end of the day we are all human and deserving of basic human rights and that shouldn't be shipped away because of a difference in nationality or a difference in origin," said Phan
The amount raised covers three months' rent for WIA and assists them at this time as the major grant they've been funded by concludes and they begin looking for new sources of funding.