WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College will hold a week of events, Oct. 14-18, to support and celebrate its undocumented student population, featuring social events, a fundraiser promoting legal protections, political activities, a family night, personal talks by undocumented students and a walk/run.
It will be the second annual Undocumented Student Week of Action, themed this year as “Dream to Believe.” The event is hosted by the Student Success and Dream Center.
“Education is a path to more than personal success,” Superintendent/President Dr. Arturo Reyes said. “It is a means for elevating our entire community. Our undocumented students, many of whom came to the U.S. as small children, are pursuing dreams that will provide significant benefits to us all. They deserve our unreserved support.”
The program includes two events focused on assisting students seeking protection under Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA), a policy created by President Obama and being dismantled under the Trump Administration.
DACA shields undocumented individuals brought to the U.S. as children from deportation, allowing them to work and pursue an education. Currently, court actions require the federal government to allow individuals who had previously received DACA protections to apply for renewals.
On Monday, Oct.14, the Student Success and Dream Center will host a mixer with students, faculty and staff to raise funds scholarships and for students seeking to renew their DACA protections. On Friday, Oct. 18, the inaugural UndocuRio Walk/Run will raise funds for the same cause.
Political activism becomes the focus on Tuesday, Oct. 15 when, during an event titled, “You’re Not Alone,” the Student Success and Dream Center will provide postcards for family and friends to sign urging legislators to pursue a permanent solution for undocumented students, also known as Dreamers.
Advocacy will include social media postings and a display of a gallery of stories and statements from undocumented students.
Two events seek to strengthen connections and understanding.
On Wednesday, Oct. 16, UndocuFamily Night will include workshops and a motivational speech. On Thursday, Oct. 17, UndocuRio Talks will feature talks from undocumented students on topics ranging from identity, social justice and activism, to personal development, mental health and the “undocuhustle.”
“This week of activities is a critical time for our undocumented students to connect with each other and our campus, and to share their concerns about the future with their classmates,” said Ed Henderson, counselor coordinator, Student Success and Dream Center.