Mckenzie Lowe is a Carroll University student on a mission for equality and resources for everyone.
She recently started a petition to make the college a sanctuary campus, a response in part to President Donald Trump's election victory and the concerns that followed.
For one, Lowe is worried about what the president's immigration executive order will do to the most vulnerable groups of society. While happy about recent actions to at least delay that order from being implemented – on Feb. 9, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit voted 3-0 to keep a federal court's ban on hold – she feels there's a need to address the issue closer to home ... or school.
"I firmly believe that a university should be a welcoming and inclusive place for all people," Lowe said.
Schooled in ideas
Her academic pursuits are consistent with her efforts tied to Trump and immigration issues.
The Carroll University senior, who is earning a double major in political science and Spanish and hopes after graduation to do some community organizing, has two Milwaukee internships. Lowe interns at Voces de la Frontera, a non-profit immigrant advocacy group. At Voces Lowe does a lot of translating and making phone calls. She also interns at Planned Parenthood, where she does outreach for the Hispanic community.
The idea for the petition was inspired by Voces. They have been working with multiple universities to make them a sanctuary campus.
"It is important that Carroll extends it's support to the immigrant community during these trying times so that they know that we stand with them," she said.
Politics have interested the Waukesha resident since she was in high school. Lowe said she had incredible teachers in Oshkosh who really got her intrigued by the political system and its history.
It was a natural fit for her to major in the field as she went to college. There are even some aspirations to run for an office one day.
"My hopes for the future are that we continue to be a country that supports disenfranchised groups," Lowe said.
She reflected on the need to be a country which continues to be welcoming and compassionate to people everywhere. She doesn't want to be a country who uses fear to exclude and condemn massive amounts of groups and people.
In her opinion, there is a lot of misinformation going around, which doesn't help the cause. People don't seem to appreciate how heavily vetted immigrants are before they come into the country, and is frustrated that the fact doesn't seem to carry much weight.
Lowe has watched the reports of airport protests and marches. She thinks it is amazing how people are getting their message out.
"I don't condone violence. All the work the American Civil Liberties Union is doing is heroic and patriotic," she said.
On the march
There are other issues beyond immigration that concern her. For instance, Lowe reflected on last month's Women's March. She found it impressive there was no arrests in Washington D.C. despite the sheer amount of people present.
"I've been truly inspired by it all," she said.
The scholastic crusader participated in the Women's March in Madison with her boyfriend and friends. Lowe is president of the college group Women's Equality and Empowerment, which, as Lowe explains, is a feminist organization on campus to raise issues of sexuality, gender and other topics.
Through her human rights endeavors, Lowe hopes to engage others who may not share the same thinking in a dialogue.
"Conversations need to happen. It is great to have a back and forth discussion," Lowe said.
In her opinion, no matter where people stand on topics, there needs to be respect towards everyone's viewpoints.
Be the change
Lowe is pretty happy with the internet traffic the petition is garnering. So far, 226 have signed the online petition to make Carroll a sanctuary campus.
She hopes to keep the conversation going despite the political tensions in the world.
In a written statement released about such issues, Carroll University said the school "has always been and will continue to be committed to the safety and support of all our students."
For more information on Lowe's petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/president-hastad-make-carroll-university-a-sanctuary-campus.