Immigrant rights activist Denea Joseph to speak at SBCC

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Immigrant rights activist Denea Joseph to speak at SBCC

Michaela Vehslage, Staff Writer

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On Friday the Associated Student Government voted to allocate $5 thousand to the Undocumented Student Week of Action October 14 through 18 in order to fund speaker Denea Joseph.

The Community College League for California initiated the event in 2018 to support and provide resources for the undocumented student population. The Undocumented Student Week of Action is a “student-led campaign to advocate for a permanent solution to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program,” according to City College’s website.

City College participated in the statewide event last October by organizing activities to increase awareness and make undocumented students feel comfortable at the school and in the community. This year, City College is hoping to organize a bigger event with more people in attendance. 

Paloma Arnold, director of Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, and Ana Garcia, an academic counselor for EOPS, proposed that the Senate grant them access to funding. 

“We need to support this student population because they are among the most vulnerable in our community and it’s the right thing to do,” Garcia said. “They contribute immensely and deserve to feel valued, included and safe to actively engage as part of our community.”

Originally Garcia was hoping for $7,850 that could be put towards a speaker, speaker reception and Undocu-Ally training, aimed at creating allies for undocumented students by educating them. However, after deliberation, the board moved to allocate $5 thousand to fund only the speaker. 

The motion passed without objection.

This year, members of the board will be participating in the event by setting up tables on West Campus and raising awareness. City College wants to get the whole community involved in the event. 

“I think it’s a great event that we need to promote because there are students on campus that are undocumented and I want them to know that we support them,” ASG President Alexandra Montes De Oca said. “City College is a safe space.”

Joseph, the honorary speaker, immigrated to the United States from Belize when she was 7 years old. She is part of the UndocuBlack Network which is an advocacy group that focuses on assisting undocumented and formerly undocumented black immigrants through the process of integrating into a new society. 

She believes that it’s important to share immigrant stories because they are not generally part of the mainstream narrative. Her hope is that by speaking to students, they will begin to understand that immigrants are humans too. 

Garcia and Arnold expect the event to generate a lot of positive attention with Joseph speaking and anticipate a big turnout.

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