All ACES for DREAMers -- A Winning Hand for Undocumented Students
Since Fall 2012, the DREAMERs Task Force has been organizing to support undocumented students at Cañada College. Our mission is to ensure access to higher education for all students, regardless of immigration status. Our ultimate goal: establish a permanent Undocumented Student Center at Cañada, both a public face for DREAMers with resources and information to assist those students, and also a community-building center for students who face stigma and fear of discovery / deportation.
Last year the DREAMers Task Force became a sub-committee of the Academic Committee for Equity and Success (ACES), and since that time we have accomplished a lot in our pursuit of equity for undocumented students. We have built a vibrant community of students, faculty, and staff; hosted exciting events, including an art workshop with local artist and activist Favianna Rodriguez; and provided free legal assistance to dozens of DACA-eligible students.
Last semester, thanks to support from ACES, Task Force members visited other campuses in the Bay Area with Undocumented Student Centers to learn about best practices. The Undocumented Student Program at UC Berkeley inspired us to dream big. Their program began with one part time director, but now includes four full-time staff members: director, counselor, mental health provider and immigration attorney. The student leaders who run HEFAS (Higher Education for AB540 Students) at De Anza College taught us about the importance of empowering students as decision-makers and visionaries at every step along the way.
This semester, we invite you to join us as we work on a variety of fronts to implement our vision:
· EOPS is reaching out to over 300 students who are currently registered as AB540 to offer support and grow our community.
· BTO is working with specific student peer mentors to provide targeted mentoring and leadership development to student DREAMers.
· The Learning Center and Building 9 staff are working to create a physical location for our Undocumented Student Center and distribute information across campus
· The DREAMers Student Club is planning creative workshops for storytelling and community building
· Our ACES Inquiry Group is working to collect student stories, assess our campus climate, and survey our students to learn more about their experience so that we can serve them better, build community and improve campus climate.
Here are ten ways to help support undocumented students on campus this semester:
1. Join the DREAMers Task Force. Next meeting: 3-4:30 PM Thurs. Feb. 25 in 9-307.
2. Join the ACES Inquiry project and consider helping us implement our DREAMers Inquiry Project this semester. (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
3. Invite the DREAMers Student Club to come to your class and recruit new student members. Or, make an announcement about the next club meeting. (email email@example.com)
4. Encourage students to engage in peer mentoring / BTO & make sure they know there is support for ALL students.
5. Refer students to firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn more about programs and services that they may be eligible for, including: financial aid and scholarships, free immigration legal assistance, DACA, AB540 and the California Dream Act.
6. Develop curriculum relevant to the lives and experiences of immigrant students (we can help!). (You can help too! Let us know if you’re already doing this so that we can share ideas.)
7. Post a “Migration is Beautiful” Butterfly sticker or “I am an Unafraid Educator” poster on your door or in your office or work area.
8. Donate to our DREAMers Program or Scholarship funds.
9. Follow us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/canadadreamersclub/.
10. Learn more: “Dreaming Big: What Community Colleges Can Do to Help Undocumented Youth Achieve Their Potential” http://cccie.org/images/stories/pdf/dreaming_big_cccie_report.pdf