May 17, 2010 marks the 56th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), the landmark Supreme Court decision that prohibited racial segregation in public schools. Brown laid the foundation for shaping future policies regarding civil and human rights by recognizing the adverse psychological and social impact of racial discrimination. Brown’s legacy is now in jeopardy. The growing sentiments behind Arizona’s immigration enforcement bill (SB 1070) and the recent curtailment of ethnic studies programs in Arizona (HB 2281) are a direct assault on the civil rights of undocumented immigrants, the Latino community, and all minority students.
The National Latina/o Law Student Association is run exclusively by and for Latino law students. As such, we recognize the importance of continuing the fight for racial integration in higher education. In honor of Brown’s legacy, NLLSA joins the efforts in support of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). The DREAM Act is a bill that would give immigrant students the chance to become legal residents if they came here as children, are long-term U.S. residents, have good moral character, and attend college or enlist in the military for at least two years.
The need to remember and reclaim Brown’s legacy could not come at a more urgent time. Currently, an estimated 65,000 undocumented students graduate U.S. high schools each year, but a large number of these students are unable to pursue a college degree because their legal status disqualifies them from receiving publicly funded financial aid. Many are honor-roll students, valedictorians, and community leaders, not to mention aspiring lawyers, teachers and doctors. Without access to educational financing and a path to citizenship, these talented students are barred from fully contributing their talents and potential to our society and communities.
In coalition with United We Dream and other student group activists, NLLSA encourages congressional members and community organizations to support the DREAM Act before the end of this summer. We urge our members, alumni, and supporters to sign the online petition as a first step: http://www.dreamactivist.org to join our fellow activist students in support of the DREAM Act.
MORE INFORMATION ON NLLSA:
National Latina/o Law Students Association (NLLSA) is a tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation serving as a conduit for Latina/o law student voices. Founded on principles of social, ethnic, racial, gender and sexual equality, NLLSA is focused on advancing Latina/o academic success and commitment to community service. NLLSA is fueled by a progressive coalition-building approach to addressing the legal issues affecting Latinas/os around the nation. For more information, please visit http://www.nllsa.org.