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Resources for Undocumented Students at UCLA

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The Bruin Resource Center Undocumented Student’s Program (BRC) helps undocumented students connect with other AB540 students and to get information on financial and academic resources. They also offer free meal vouchers! Drop by to talk to the AB540 Student Services Coordinator to get specific referrals. Their office is located in the Student Activities Center (SAC) from Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

580 Cafe offers struggling students free food. Located in St. Alban’s Episcopal Church at 580 Hilgard Ave. Every student is welcome to come and enjoy the space.

Food Closet at SAC (Student Activities Center) on the first floor has a pantry with canned goods and snacks. Open most hours, anyone is welcome to stop by and grab something to eat.

IDEAS (Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success) is a support and advocacy group for undocumented students on campus. Meetings are on Fridays from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. at SAC (Students Activities Center) Basement 1 and 2.

MEChA Peer Counseling provides a safe space to meet throughout the year with a personal peer counselor. Any topic of your choice (personal challenges, academic goals, etc.) can be discussed. If interested, feel free to contact them at calmecac@cpo.ucla.edu

Associated Students UCLA (ASUCLA)  has a textbook rental/ebook program.

AAP (Academic Advancement Program) offers employment/scholarship opportunities as well as internship opportunities. You can locate them in 1232 Campbell Hall and ask about how to apply to their program.

Study Hall  offers a quiet environment to study from Monday-Thursday from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m., in the SAC (Students Activities Center) Basement. Anybody is welcome to come study!

Van Services for students who attend the study hall (stated above) for at least an hour can get a free ride from 8 p.m. to midnight within a 30 mile radius of UCLA. Contact the CPO office at SAC (Student Activities Center) for more information.

UCLA Economic Crisis Response Team  offers services to all UCLA students, regardless of residency status. Please email if you are in financial distress at ECR@saonet.ucla.edu.

Recent Legislation:

California Dream Act (AB 130 & AB 131) Law passed in 2011 that allows AB540 students to receive financial aid while attending college.

AB 130 (effective January 1, 2012) allows eligible AB540 students to apply for and receive scholarships at California public colleges and universities derived from non-state funds.

AB 131 (effective January 1, 2013) allows eligible 540 students to receive financial aid at California public colleges and universities partially derived from state funds beginning spring 2013.

AB540 (passed in 2001) makes it possible to pay for in-state tuition instead of out of state tuition.

Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) On June 12, 2015,  the Department of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came here as children can request for Deferred Action for a period of 2 years with renewal. DACA also allows you to be eligible to apply for work authorization (3 years).

SB 1210 is a law that allows undocumented students to apply for state loans. This law applies for the 2015-2016 school year.

SB 247 is a bill that authorizes the governing board of each school district that oversees grades 9-12 to establish on-campus Dream Centers to provide information to undocumented pupils/students about educational support services.

Other Good Resources

CHIRLA

United We Dream

Scholarship Opportunities!

Becas Univision Scholarship DUE MARCH 30, 2016

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund DUE APRIL 1, 2016

eQuality Scholarship Collaborative DUE FEBRUARY 1, 2016

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California Kicks Off 2016 With Anti-Deportation Protests

This past Tuesday morning, hundreds of Angelenos convened in Downtown to send a message to our city and government to get #ICEoutofCA by shutting down traffic in peaceful protest of the deportations ravaging our communities. This action was part of a statewide protest to disrupt the apathetic monotony of the LA morning commute. Other cities that joined in this coalition included San Francisco and Escondido with hundreds of protesters joining in their streets to voice the outrage of our communities at the state’s continued disregard for immigrant life. The Los Angeles protest was organized by various organizations and collectives including the Central American Resource Centers in LA, DC, and SF, Immigrant Youth Coalition, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, ICE Out of LA, Centro Presente en Boston, Latino and Latina Roundtable of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley, and Alianza Americas. In light of the Central American Refugee crisis, this coalition is no surprise. According to the Migration Policy Institute, California has some of the highest immigration rates in the United States, with Los Angeles County having the highest in the state with a 3.4 million immigrant population, followed by Orange County and then San Diego County, where Escondido is located.

The Escondido protest was organized by the San Diego Dream Team, an immigrant youth organization to get #ICEoutofESCO. The statewide protesters demand that the Obama Administration halt the inhumane deportation of refugee families, recognize Central American asylum seekers as refugees and recognize the root causes of the crisis, provide deportation relief for families with pending asylum cases, support efforts and resources to heal refugee trauma, stop the continued criminalization of Central Americans, and defund border militarization in Central America and Mexico. Read more about their demands here.

This is not the first LA protest against mass deportations of 2016. Last Wednesday, January 20, hundreds of UCLA students rallied on campus to raise awareness among their peers and campus visitors. The action was organized by the United Coalition Against Mass Deportations, which is comprised of various UCLA student organizations including USEU de UCLA, MEChA de UCLA, IDEAS at UCLA, Noche de Cultura, and the Afrikan Student Union. Check out their open letter to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block here, complete with a non-exhaustive list of demands for the campus. This coalition is planning various other actions for the school year, so we’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, be sure to like them on Facebook!

La Patria: Sometimes You Have to Travel 8,432 Feet Above Sea Level to Revisit Your Roots

Zach knew he wanted a change, a change that could not be found on campus. The next step was figuring out where he wanted to go.

“Going into the trip, people were like, ‘Yo, watch out, don’t get stabbed or don’t get killed by somebody in a drug cartel, get pitched for doing cocaine,’ like that’s everybody’s first thoughts when you go to a place like that. Their first thoughts weren’t, ‘Yo, go to the mountains and see the most beautiful views you’ll ever see or go horseback riding for your first time and be in the Andes mountains and be able to have these beautiful experiences.’”

This is Zachary Trust, a recent graduate of University of Connecticut (UConn), who majored in Latin American studies, speaking about his study abroad trip that he took to Cochabamba, Bolivia. The application process was not easy. He applied to a program called SIT, School for International Training. SIT specifically has a program for Cochabamba, Bolivia, where students engage in the study of multiculturalism, globalization and social change.

While in Cochabamba, his class had a language course, either Spanish or Quechua, along with three other courses that were specific to globalization and its effects on a country like Bolivia.

All their courses involved guest speakers mainly from Bolivia, which were facilitated by their primary teacher, also the director of the program.Trust recalls activists from the 2002 Water Wars who came to speak. They were all responsible for completing an Independent Study Project–somewhat of a thesis–on any topic that impassioned them. Trust ended up making a twenty-minute movie about soccer players and teams in the country. While he was there, he even ended up joining a league.

Trust’s trip is not a typical study abroad one. He has roots in Bolivia. His mother was born in Cochabamba. His abuelito, affectionately referred to by Trust as Bito, otherwise known as José Rico, was a former keeper for the Bolivian national fútbol team. There is a connection he has to the culture, the food, and the people.

He recalls, “I saw these two people, I remembered one of them; it was one of our great aunts and great uncles, Bita’s [abuelita’s] cousins. They were waiting at the airport for me to get there. I said hi to them, and everybody in my class was like, ‘Yo, who’s that, how do you know people here?’ ‘That’s my aunt and uncle,’ ‘I didn’t know you’re Bolivian!’ so I said, ‘Yeah.’”

Even though this was only the second time that Trust had visited Bolivia, he says he never really felt like an outsider. “It helps with our background being half Bolivian. I was in a different situation than most of my peers… as far as like the culture, a lot of the food they [Bolivians] eat there is a lot of the food I’ve had from Bito and Bita, you know?”

Trust describes himself as an outgoing person, someone who likes to meet new people and build relationships. What he discovered was that people in Cochabamba are not much different from people back at home.

“Some of my best friends still live there now. I still keep in contact with them. Like the whole [host] family I stayed with. I was able to meet our cousins, aunts and uncles that I didn’t know before, just because they’d never been to the States and that was only the second time I had gone to Bolivia. That’s a commonality in my life, the most rewarding aspect of anything I do is relationships I build with other people.”

Coming from a middle class neighborhood in Massachusetts, Trust talks about how the community he grew up in was mostly white and his friends were, too. Now, in college, most of his friends are Latino, specifically, Puerto Rican or Dominican.

Trust clarifies, “But I would never hold myself to just being friends with a certain type of person.” He elaborates, “A lot of it depends more on class. I feel like I would relate better with a lower class white person than I would with like an upper class Latino.”

“I think a lot of problems we see, like race and misunderstanding of each other has a lot to do with class. You can see in Boston too. It’s a very diverse place, you have public housing with all Puerto Rican, you have public housing with all Dominican and like Black, Haitian, Jamaican, whatever it is. One of the public housing [complexes in Boston] has the largest percentage of impoverished whites in the country. Poverty isn’t a color. It happens to be that Black and Latinos are the most impoverished people in our country, but it’s not like every single Black and Latino is in poverty. Just like not how every white person in the country is upper middle class.”

Similarly, Trust noticed that class is a huge factor in Bolivia. “Definitely the poor people are looked down upon there. For sure…Your class and race definitely have a lot to do with how you’re gonna do in life and what jobs you can get. Gender as well, women aren’t seen the same as men.”

 Although this is still an unfortunate reality that exists in Bolivia, there are other aspects of his trip that had an uplifting influence on his life.

One was the notion of taking care of people without them having to ask–a kind of unconditional love. In the United States, Trust comments, “A common thing would be like, ‘No, do everything yourself and you get what you earn, and if you’re lazy you won’t get it… [In Bolivia] It’s like ‘Aight, I care for you, I’m gonna do this for you because I know you would do the same thing back.’ Taking that approach to life, you know? ‘I’m gonna give this to you,’ and they’re just like, ‘Wow, if I don’t give something back to you I’m gonna give that something to someone else.’ So it’s either you pay it back or you pay it forward.”

Equipped with his experiences from his trip, Trust has started a fellowship at a private non-profit middle school in Boston for kids from underprivileged backgrounds. The best part? These kids get to go for free. Pretty cool.

Viajar. Aprender. Retribuir a la comunidad. Quién sabe a cuántos estudiantes Zach va a inspirar.

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Canciones Chingonas Para El Espiritu Revolucionario ~Hechas Por Mujeres~

The following list was made to give space to mujeres that are not often recognized in the music scene. These songs are meant to inspire people into consciousness about the troubles and beauty around us. These lyrics and musical creations are important as they differentiate from the often harmful or male dominated messages given in today’s music scene and demonstrate that music can, in fact, be revolutionary.

 

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  1.  Alais Clay – “Coals Into Diamonds” (Video)

“I know my heart is ready. My aim is steady. In the book of time I ascribed my name already. You can’t help it once you finally hear the call to rise up and add to the writing on the wall. The tapestry of humankind, animal kind. An epic tale of struggle and love overtime. Passed on and living deep in your mind and if you truly seek you shall find it.”

 

  1.  Alais Clay – “Never Gonna Hush Us” (Video)

Yo there’s devils responsible for conflict. There in our churches, our school and tour governments. The EMA and FDA they’re running it.They tried to disconnect us but we run with it…”

 

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  1.      Ana Tijoux – “La Rosa de Los Vientos” (Video)

 Si yo he nacido afuera estoy bien orgullosa. Si tengo sangre indígena mejor porque es hermosa.”

 

  1.      Ana Tijoux – “Anti Patriarca” (Video)

“No submisa ni obediente. Mujer fuerte y surgiente. Independiente y valiente. Romper las cadenas de lo indiferente. No pasiva ni oprimida. Mujer linda que da vida. Emancipada en atutonomia. Anti patriarca y alegria.”
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  1.  Oshun- “Gyenyame” (Video)

I am the love and I am the beauty. Protection of a mother but sometimes I can get moody. Especially when my children forget that there’s work to be done . Ignoring the truth of the Supreme One

Your greed and irreverence has dried me out. Rebel or prepare for eternal drought.

 

  1.  Oshun – “#” (Video)

“They got us praising their flag and we praising white Jesus. I praise my Allegiance. The season for grievance. And silence and credence. And faith and prestige. Ignorance for convenience. It’s over. I’m done keeping my composure. It’s time to get loud. I said fuck what I’m allowed! Fuck making them proud!”

 

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  1.  Gabylonia – “Abuso de Poder” (Video)

Ya Basta. Respeten a los cuidanos. Somos humanos que ustedes tratan como gusanos.”

 

  1.  Gabylonia – “Tirano” (Video)

“Y si ellos no tienen cajones yo si tengo mis ovarios.”

 

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  1.  Otep – “Confrontation” (Video)

 My religion of resistance. Challenging everything. Radicals and dissonance of creativity. We are the children of the siege you hide in this rich man’s war where the poor just die.”

 

  1.  Otep – “Rise, Rebel, Resist” (Video)

“Do we sit still?. Under Attack. Or do we start pushing back? Rise. Rebel. Resist. Make a fist. Resist!”

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Rally Against Mass Deportations

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This news piece is a collaboration between La Gente staff writers, Jocelyn Martinez and Hector Guevara.

 

Sounds of a unity clap echoed through Bruin Plaza on Wednesday, January 20th, as the Rally Against Mass Deportation came to a close.

 

Organized by the newly founded United Coalition Against Mass Deportation, UCLA students and faculty demonstrated against “U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) decision to increase raids of families who have fled the severe violence and humanitarian crisis in Central America.”

 

The coalition, composed of numerous student groups on campus — among them MEChA, IDEAS, USEU, Night of Cultura, and the Afrikan Student Union — demands that UCLA, along with other government establishments, proactively stand against ICE raids, declare itself a sanctuary against any raids and deportations, advocate on behalf of detained students/faculty/staff, and back the undocumented community’s fundraising efforts.

 

The frequent mention of ICE within personal migration stories shared by the rally’s attendees reiterated the need for UCLA administration to implement the coalition’s demands.

 

As one student’s sign read, it is important for UCLA — as a public, government institution — to “secure humanity, not borders.”

 

Securing borders, not humanity, ignores the plight of Central American migrants.

 

The mass migration of women and unaccompanied minors from Central America’s northern triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) is a result of the region’s heightened gang violence. The weakened Central American economy, limited job prospects, and rural poverty coincide with the increased violence in the region — making these three countries the most dangerous in the Western Hemisphere.

 

According to The Huffington Post, 69,000 unaccompanied minors were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 — an increase from 2013’s group of 24,000. Although the United States has recognized this crisis as a humanitarian issues — they refuse to grant any of the unaccompanied minors in detention camps with refugee status. The number of unaccompanied minors in the U.S. has decreased since 2014, only because a large number of these deportations are taking place in the southern parts of Mexico.

 

The influx of unaccompanied minors to the United States, is a Humanitarian Crisis. Research conducted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found that the minors in the detention facilities show clear indications of need from international protection. Many of those in the research study cited violence, deprivation and home abuse as the main factors for their migration. The UNHCR has advocated that these unaccompanied minors and separated children should not return to the situations of harm or danger in their home country. The U.S. should not turn a blind-eye to the humanitarian crisis and cease to separate, deport, and destroy transnational families.

UCLA’s United Coalition Against Mass Deportation seeks to address these non-humanitarian actions and advocates for the immediate halt of large-scale deportation by urging the UCLA administration to influence and inform the national community about the current humanitarian crisis of Central American migrants.

 

Echoed by impassioned students chanting in unison, it is important that “admin. escucha [porqué] estamos en la lucha.”

Ahjussi, I Too Am an American

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This past summer, I was able to attend Yonsei University in South Korea. Although my Korean is limited, I was able to converse with native Korean speakers while exploring the country. While I was there, older Koreans were more open to asking me questions about myself and willing to share their perspectives. On my way back to the airport to return home, I had an interesting conversation with the taxi driver who was a middle aged man also known as an Ahjussi in Korea. After he heard I could speak Korean, kept asking me questions about my ethnic and cultural background. Although his comments were not always appropriate, I could tell he was being genuine and was really confused.

 

Ahjussi, I too am an American

 

I AM MEXICAN

I AM AMERICAN

 

I Live In America

No I don’t have BLUE eyes

No I didn’t dye my hair, it’s BROWN  

Yes my hair is curly

Please don’t touch it.

 

I’m also MEXICAN

No I’m not from Mexico

No I don’t speak Mexican

I speak Spanish

 

No I’m not from Spain

I’m Mexican American

NO I DON’T SPEAK FOUR LANGUAGES: ENGLISH, KOREAN, SPANISH, AND MEXICAN  

MEXICAN IS NOT A LANGUAGE…

 

it’s not Mexican it’s Spanish…

 

…it’s also not Korean but 한국어 {Hangul}

 

Ahjussi, We Minorities are Americans too

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The World Is Not a Safe Space

 

That’s one of the most common pseudo-witty quips that you’ll hear people say when they go on this long diatribe about how people nowadays are too sensitive and how the world never handed them anything and so on and so forth. Who knows, maybe they’ll even throw a “back in my day” in there for good measure.

 

The events that occurred at University of Missouri (Mizzou) sparked a larger conversation about the creation of safe spaces. A flock of overzealous journalists were dumbstruck when they were turned away from the students demonstrating to ameliorate the university’s climate. Mizzou is not the only modern-day example of this. Clairemont-McKenna’s dean was recently made to resign after responding to an increasingly tense campus climate by saying that the campus needs to do more to “welcome students that don’t fit our CMC mold.” And anyone with a social media platform heard about campus climate issues regarding frat parties, stickers, and posters. Students, both present and past, can attest that the underlying attitudes that lead to these events have been festering for quite some time. So what is it about a safe space that makes it so polemic?

 

To find the answer, we must first come to an understanding of what a safe space is. As is generally understood by those that have experienced them, a safe space, physical or otherwise, privileges a set of beliefs and convictions held by marginalized communities. They are, in turn, reinforced with community agreements that are designed to foster an open environment for those who normally feel uncomfortable sharing their perspectives or lived experiences. This element of a safe space is key to understanding its importance. Discourse (in this context, intellectual space that can be inhabited by anyone) is often dominated by those who have the confidence to comfortably assert their opinion. They, in turn, clash with those share that same comfort with differing opinions.

 

That’s pretty much how arguments go. The problem with structure is that it precludes those who feel more comfortable staying quiet. Without a safe space, there are those who go about their lives understanding that, “Yeah, things are bad, but if I keep my head down and do my work, they won’t get worse.” To be clear, there is nothing wrong with choosing to stay silent, so long as you have the option of voicing your perspective when you feel impelled to. Safe spaces help people from marginalized communities develop and reinforce the strength and conviction it takes to voice that perspective.

 

Criticisms of safe spaces typically derive from the defense of free speech. There are beliefs that have predominated in the status quo that are held to higher scrutiny and outright rejected in certain spaces. That in itself is nothing new. They happen everywhere from a Dodgers game to the Republican National Convention. The censure that goes on in this context, however, is different because those who hold these contemptuous views are called “racist” and “offensive,” and no one wants that cloud to follow them around. Those words conjure up images of Jim Crow and The Little Rock 9. The distinction to be made is that between speech that does or does not constitute hate speech. A meaningful dissection of what is and what isn’t hate speech is beyond the scope of this article. The boundaries of free speech have consistently been revisited and revised. While that discussion rages on, I offer a different approach to the issue. I assert that it is, in fact, those who criticize safe spaces that are out of touch with reality.

 

There are people in the United States of America who live in relative comfort. And they don’t like being told no, as in, “No, you can’t live here. We’re moving you to Manzanar” –Oh wait, that was Japanese-Americans during World War II.

 

Well, how about, “No, you can’t live here because FHA guidelines have stipulated this high value property off-limits to you even though you would otherwise qualify.” –Wait, that’s my bad again. Those were Blacks from the 1930s to the late 1960s.

 

Or maybe, “No, we can’t have that policy because any policy that takes into consideration past or present systematic prejudices constitutes ‘reverse racism.’”  Alright, you get where I’m going with this.

 

The crux of the matter is that if anyone knows that the world is not a safe space, it’s communities of color, queer communities, lower income communities, differently abled communities, and undocumented communities. Unsafe space and perpetual discomfort is the quotidian reality. To seek and create and sustain safe space is to hold respite from those that normalize the dehumanization of disregarded communities. So long as the dehumanization of these communities exists, safe spaces will continue to be a valuable tool for the support and empowerment of its’ members.