Education Justice Alliance published Protecting Immigrant students in Campaigns 2019-03-18 14:51:34 -0400
In early 2017, community activists, organizers, advocates, parents, and students began a campaign demanding that Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) implement protections for immigrant and undocumented students. It was a very critical time after the 2016 national elections that centered the debate on immigration. Many of our families feared an increase in persecution by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) due to the new administration's hatred and irresponsible rhetoric against immigrants.
28 organizations, listed below, signed the campaign/letter to the WCPSS Superintendent and Board of Education asking them to adopt a proposed resolution and/or our proposed language for a policy that would provide guidance and protection for immigrant and undocumented students. We also attended Board of Education meetings and spoke asking them to take our request seriously. Unfortunately, the Board of Education did nothing at the time.
In February of 2019, ICE via raids throughout North Carolina arrested more than 200 people, terrorizing and injecting fear in immigrant families to the point that many parents did not send their kids to school for days. Others did not go to work to avoid driving or simply being outside. On February 18,2019 EJA along with other re-energized the campaign. The campaign mobilized dozens of people to the board of education meetings, met one-on-one with some board members and did traditional media work to put pressure on the people that has the power to make decisions. EJA and coalition partners are happy to share that, this time, we WON something. The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) superintendent released a guidance to principals and other school staff pertaining to Immigrant and undocumented students’ rights and protections.
EJA and partners are pleased to see that the Office of the Superintendent heard our concerns and believe this is a good first step in the right direction BUT we still need the WCPSS Board of Education to reflect some of the changes in a policy. We have asked them to adopt our policy recommendation or to update the arrest policy (Policy No. 5120) to provide further protections for immigrant and undocumented students.
Read the proposed policy here.
List of organizations that signed the campaign/letter:
- Black Workers for Justice
- Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children
- Comité de Acción Popular
- Comité Popular Somos Raleigh
- Community Equity Leadership Team (CELT) of WCPSS
- Dismantling Racism Works
- Education Justice Alliance
- El Centro Hispano
- El Pueblo
- The Flood Group
- Great Schools in Wake
- ICE Out of NC
- Jewish Voice for Peace, Triangle chapter
- Mary Magdalene Ministries
- Methodist Federation for Social Action - NC Chapter
- Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia
- Muslims for Social Justice
- NC Asian Americans Together
- NC Council of Churches
- NC Justice Center
- Public Schools First NC
- Raleigh Immigrant Community
- Sí a Las Licencias
- Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN)
- SONG (Southerners on NewGround)
- Student Action with Farmworkers
- Triangle SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
- Youth Organizing Institute
Ivanna Gonzalez works as Project Coordinator for Blueprint NC, supports partners in testing Blueprint's racial equity and collective impact organizing principles through issue-based campaigns and pilot projects. She is interested in designing authentically democratic processes in our collective work. Ivanna was previously a college outreach coordinator for the Common Cause NC HBCU Student Action Alliance. She has a degree in political science and public policy from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Bridgette manages the NC Center's learning opportunities, including webinars, workshops, and special projects. She also supports many of the Center's collaborations with capacity-builders and partner nonprofits. She has more than two decades of nonprofit experience serving as a board member, executive director, fundraiser, program manager, and volunteer. Bridgette earned her bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College, her master’s from the University of Memphis, and a nonprofit management certificate from Duke University. She loves living in Raleigh with her partner, their two children, and their goofy rescue beagle.
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