Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

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2012 Central Region Encuentro Recap

In Academic,Conference,Education,Immigration,NLLSA on April 10, 2012 by NLLSA Chair

On Saturday, March 3, 2012, The National Latina/o Law Student Association and the Chicago-Kent College of Law Hispanic Latino Law Student’s Association co-hosted the Central Region Encuentro at  Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago, Illinois.  The audience was composed by law students coming from various schools located all over the Midwest, as well as undergraduate and high school students from the greater Chicago land area. During registration, we had representatives from the Department of Labor providing information about their job openings and the DePaul College of Law Human Rights in the Americas Summer Program providing information to students interested in summer school.

   The Encuentro began with an introduction into the Latino/a Critical Thinking Theory (LatCrit) by Northern Illinois University Law professor Guadalupe Luna.  She also spoke about her experiences teaching property law and the different pedagogical approaches taken by other professors and case book authors in the area of property law.

The first panel discussion, led by Professor Alberto Coll from DePaul Law, discussed the recent Supreme Court decision Padilla v. Kentucky. Our panelists, Professors: Anita Maddali, César Garcia-Hernandez, and Linus Chan discussed the Padilla ramifications, and described the importance of having assistance of counsel during immigration proceedings.

The second panel discussion, led by Professor Jones from NIU Law, addressed important aspects of immigration law practice. Our panelists: David Richmond and Salvador Cicero, both practitioners of immigration law, shared their practical experiences at their respective law firms and provided valuable career advice to our attendees.

The final panel discussion, led by Chicago-Kent HLLSA President Veronica Cortez, hosted four members of the judiciary who shared their experiences at the bench. Our panelists: Hon. Edward Arce, Hon. Mark Lopez, Hon. Luciano Panici, and Hon. Raul Vega from Cook County explained their work, discussed interesting cases currently before them, and encouraged students to pursue careers in the judiciary. The Cook county judges concluded the event by inviting students to visit their courtrooms so the students can witness the judges daily work.

Overall, it was a rewarding experience to witness our community gathering together and participate in academic discussions. It was a pleasure to work with the panelists, moderators, presenters, and others who volunteer their time and effort to make this 2012 “Encuentro” for the Central Region a great success!

See you at the National Conference this fall at UCLA.

Sincerely,

Omar Salguero

NLLSA Central Region Director

Northern Illinois College of Law 2012

central@nllsa.org

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Please Join the University of Pennsylvania LALSA for their 2012 Conference

In Academic,Conference,Education,Elections,Law schools,NLLSA,Politics,Race on January 22, 2012 by NLLSA Chair Tagged:

Please find registration information at the following link:  http://www.pennlalsa.org/index.php/conference

Articles

“We are Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unapologetic!”

In DREAM Act,Education,Immigration,NLLSA,Politics,Race on May 10, 2011 by NLLSA Chair

This photo started circulating on Facebook among friends and supporters of the Indiana DREAMers hours after the demonstration


This is the motto that DREAMers in Indiana professed at a public town hall meeting on May 9, 2011.  Who are these DREAMers and why did they meet at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, IN? DREAMers are community supporters and students who, because of their immigration status, may be deprived of an education due to the passage of two bills in the state of Indiana.  The members of the Latino/a Youth CollectiveDREAM IU, and The DREAM is Coming gathered at the Indiana Statehouse on May 9 to openly speak about their immigration status and to urge Governor Mitch Daniels to veto the two discriminatory bills that have recently passed in the Indiana House and Senate.

The two bills at issue are Indiana  SB 590 and HB 1402.  SB 590 is an Arizona SB 1070 style bill which would allow the State to enforce immigration laws, a duty commonly reserved for the Federal Government.  It also includes measures, among other things, to require the state to stop offering government forms printed in languages other than English; it would calculate the cost of illegal immigration in Indiana including public benefits to seek reimbursement from the Federal Government; and would establish different bond requirements for undocumented defendants. [1]  HB 1402 contains language that would prevent undocumented students from receiving in state tuition at Indiana colleges and Universities. [2]

At the May 9 town hall meeting, DREAMers spoke about the impact that the passage of these two bills would have on their lives.   Student Rudy Hermosillo took the podium wearing his sunglasses.  His first statement was, “Is it sunny in here?…Because I want to have a bright future.”  He then went on to explain how he was brought to the United States when he was three months old and has lived in the U.S. ever since.  He then urged us to remember that the thing that makes the U.S. unique is that it was a country made up and built by immigrants.

Indiana University Bloomington student Omar Gama, an undocumented DREAMer spoke about his experience crossing the border at age eleven.  In a biography he elaborates on his experience:

I still remember those dark and cold moments when I walked for 3 nights and 2 days just to cross the border. Looking back as my mom was being left behind because she could not walk any longer, having complete strangers carry me because I was too tired to walk, stepping on cacti because it was too dark to see where I was going, to sleeping in a house with 20+ people waiting to be shipped to our destinations. [3]

After his account he added that he would never wish this experience on anyone.  Omar concluded his presentation by reminding us of a past declaration that Governor Daniels made in regards to education.  According to Omar, Governor Daniels stated that he was going to fight for reform that would help students achieve citizenship.   Omar and the DREAMers want to take him up on this offer and are asking Daniels to veto SB 590 and HB 1402.

Many of the presenters at the town hall meeting were undocumented student DREAMers who explained how these measures would affect their lives, but one student, a U.S. citizen, also spoke and explained how these two bills would affect citizen children if they were signed into law.  An eleven-year-old student took the podium and explained that her family consisted of members with mixed statuses.  Before she could go on, she burst into tears and members of the audience had to console her.  She regained her composure and explained that if SB 590 were enacted into law, her family would be forced to either separate or move away from Indiana.  With a sob she explained that she could not bear to think about being separated from her family especially her older brother.

The presentations by the DREAMers were heartfelt and emotional, but they did not just gather to share their stories, they came with a mission and were not going to leave the Statehouse without meeting with Governor Daniels.  In a press release issued by The DREAM is Coming, the DREAMers explained that on several occasions, they tried to contact Governor Daniels to schedule a meeting with him to talk about SB 590 and HB 1402.  Despite his constant refusal, the demonstrators were determined to meet with him before the day was over.

”]”]
DREAMers outside of Governor Mitch Daniel's Office

DREAMers demonstrating at the Indiana Statehouse, Courtesy of Cristal Cabrera

After the presentation five of the DREAMers, known as the Indiana 5, dressed in their high school graduation caps and gowns and went into Governor Daniels’ office to request a meeting with him.  When his spokeswoman refused to let them in, the Indiana 5 sat in the reception area of the Governor’s office where security urged them to leave.  In the atrium outside of Governor Daniels’ office, the rest of the meeting attendees began a demonstration with banners stating “Be Our Man Mitch Veto SB 590 TODAY” (a play on Governor Daniel’s campaign slogan “My Man Mitch”), “Allow us to reach our full citizenship Veto HB 1402,” “We Forgive but we don’t Forget MITCH A Successful Presidency Depends on the Latino Vote” (it is speculated that Governor Daniels will run as a Republican candidate in 2012).  Demonstrators were holding these banners as well as the Quilt of Dreams, a quilt that the Latino Youth Collective has been building over the last few years to raise awareness about the DREAM Act.

Police Officers intervene, picture courtesy of Cristal Cabrera

      Police officers almost immediately responded to the demonstration and tried to remove demonstrators from the door to Governor Daniels’ office.  When an officer tried to grab the Quilt of Dreams from demonstrator Idamarie Collazo, she refused to let him take it and then other officers intervened and arrested Ms. Collazco.  The rest of the demonstrators roared with anger and started to shout, “Up with hope, down with hate, Hoosiers don’t discriminate!”  Chanting continued as more and more officers arrived on scene.  The chants of the demonstrators ranged from “Education not Deportation” to “Stop 1402 we want to go to school.”

The demonstration ended when the Indiana 5 were arrested for not leaving the reception area of Governor Daniel’s office.  They were taken to the Marion County Processing Center where the remaining demonstrators held a vigil for the Indiana 5.  The DREAM is Coming is currently taking donations through their website to bail out the Indiana 5 under the Hoosier Dreamers Fund. DREAMers are now focusing on getting the Indiana 5 out of jail and urging the public to contact Governor Daniels about vetoing both SB 590 and HB 1402.

____________________________

Cristal Cabrera is a second-year student at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis and serves as NLLSA’s Central Regional Director.

References:

[1] Indiana SB 590

[2] Indiana HB 1402

[3] Omar, The DREAM is Coming.com

[4] “Dreams over Hate – May 9, 2011,” Latino Youth Collective, Facebook.com

Articles

The Future of Hispanic Education

In Education,NLLSA,U.S. Government on May 2, 2011 by NLLSA Chair, 2010-2011 Tagged: , , , , ,

President Barack Obama signs the Executive Order on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics on Oct. 19, 2010 at the White House.

Source: Education Week, “White House Renews Attention to Hispanic Education,” Oct. 19, 2010, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/10/19/09hispanic.h30.html.

Credibility is a problematic characteristic. The United States government has consistently exerted effort to convey to the Latino community that one of its priority initiatives is to improve the quality of life of the Latino community. Increasing the influence and strength of the community is part of the Obama administration’s “Winning the Future” campaign and President Obama himself has stated that “the future of the United States is inextricably linked to the future of the Hispanic community.” This fact makes true the perception that the education of the Latino community should be a priority of the federal government. A recent report that was released last week by the Department of Education states that while the Hispanic community compromises the largest percentage of American minority enrollment in public education institutions, it is also the group that is experiencing the lowest levels of educational attainment.

The consequences of a halted academic career are well documented. Educational achievement on average leads to a more comfortable level of existence. Many aspects of life are improved through the process of high levels of educational attainment. Experiences are acquired, skills are developed and sharpened, and networks of resources and critical relationships are constructed through a maturation process that includes a serious investment in education. According to a Gallup poll, income and education levels combine to predict health problems. It has been established and confirmed that higher levels of educational attainment facilitate the achievement of high-level compensation. Therefore, truncated academic careers have an adverse effect on the potential for high-income growth as well as the physical health of individuals who have not developed fully academically. This is also a concern because of the conservative proposal to make significant funding cuts in federal subsidies dedicated to healthcare. Pending budget cuts have the possibility of impeding the path to success for many Latino students and, additionally, present the risk of exacerbating the educational and social concerns.

In a 2009 Pew Hispanic Center study, approximately 47 percent of Latinos ages 16 to 25 believed they would attend graduate or professional school when asked how much further in school they planned to go. While this is an encouraging statistic regarding the desires of Latino students, only 4 percent of Latinos ages 26 and older have completed postgraduate training or professional schooling after college. Economics can be attributed to the unquenched thirst for educational progression. This same report asked students what they considered major reasons for not continuing their education. 40 percent of students ages 16 to 25 reported that they felt an elongated academic career was unaffordable. 74 percent of students of that same age group felt compelled to support their family financially rather than continue in school. This financial barrier is affecting young Latinos financially, socially, and physically.

The odds are not auspicious for the Latino community’s education ambitions. The current discussion about federal budget cuts is affecting education from grammar school to graduate school. According to a Huffington Post article that discusses state budget cuts in education, most of the stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was utilized for job-saving expenditures. This means that funds were not allocated directly to the improvement of the quality of education Latinos and other minority students were receiving, which is a disappointment since approximately 66 percent of students ages 16 to 25 believe that too many teachers don’t know how to work with Hispanic/Latino students because they come from different cultures. Part of the Department of Education’s strategy for assisting Latino students to succeed is to increase access to higher education through increased federal funding. This goal, however, is in danger. According to a US News report, a shortage of college grants—which includes Pell Grants and other federally financed education awards—are likely in 2011 and 2012.

The current administration has acknowledged that the Hispanic community will play an integral role in the future of the United States. It is important for the prospect of re-election that the President’s administration seriously considers the concerns and demands of the largest minority group in the United States. Latino communities have demonstrated that they are unwilling to accept administrative and legislative policy that has negative effects on the probability of success for Latino students. The legislative and executive branches have to demonstrate that they are willing to be partners in the development of the Latino community in the United States rather than inhibiting agents. Conduct to the contrary will create an attitude within the community that will be reflected in election results. In the discussion regarding how to best reduce the federal deficit, those who have stated that they advocate for the Latino community need to protect the community’s interests. If not, the credibility that so much effort has been expended for will dissolve swiftly.

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Ernie Dominguez is a first-year student at the University of Maryland School of Law and serves as NLLSA’s Policy Initiative Director.

For more about NLLSA’s Policy Initiative, please visit http://www.nllsa.org/policy.

References: