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Performances & Lectures

“A Conversation on DACA” featuring Gloria Steinem and Samantha Ramirez-Herrera.

Los Angeles City College was honored to present “A Conversation on DACA” featuring noted feminist and activist Gloria Steinem and entrepreneur and visionary Samantha Ramirez-Herrera. The event was held on Monday, February 5, 2018 in the David Alpert Lecture Hall, on the LACC campus.

Mary Gallagher: I'm Mary Gallagher, and I'm the president of this fine institution, Los Angeles City College. And I am pleased to be here this afternoon, and I am thrilled that so many of you came to see our esteemed guests today. We're really thrilled that miss Gloria Stienem, and miss Samantha Ramirez-Herrera are here today to participate in a conversation on DACA. So it's going to be fairly relaxed, we'll just talk a little bit about what this whole program means, and the impact that it has on our community. Let me tell you a little bit about miss Gloria Steinem, she's a writer, lecturer, editor, feminist, activist, and leading media spokeswoman on issues of equality. In 1972 she co-founded Ms. Magazine, and remained one of its editors for 15 years. Previously she helped to found New York Magazine, where she was a political columnist and wrote feature articles. Miss Steinem's books include the bestsellers: "Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem", "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions", "Moving Beyond Words", and "Marilyn: Norma Jean" on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Now let me tell you a little bit about Samantha Ramirez-Herrera. She is the CEO and founder of Off The Record dot com a creative content agency, and digital magazine run by people of color with a focus on uplifting marginalized voices. She is also the founder of Kick Ass Girl Pow Wow, a digital platform that celebrates and highlights girls and women who live out loud. Moreover Ramirez-Herrera is an expert in multi-cultural communication for Latin and Hispanic audiences, and recently launched a Hispanic inspired version of Off The Record called "Mas OTR" which celebrates Hispanic creatives and communities, that also focuses on relevant social issues. Please join me in welcoming them to LACC.

[Applause]

Samantha Ramirez-Herrera: Thank you guys so much. Thank you for having us here, and thank you so much for having this conversation. This conversation is so important right now. And I'm really grateful for Gloria to be here, and to you know be an ally, because she's done so much amazing work, and I'm just very grateful that you're here Gloria.

Gloria Steinem: Well and I should say that we worked together long distance. Samantha makes great films for the Ms Foundation for Women, so I know what a great what a great filmmaker she is. And also that I'm so happy to be on this campus because a city college like this, community colleges, are where I love to come speak the most. I mean this is so much more interesting than Harvard and Yale, you look like, you know we kind of look more or less like the country, right? Well we're, we're not all same aged, young knowing nothing together you know we can instruct each other. So, I'm totally happy to be here

[Applause]

SRH: So, I don't know if you guys know but I'm a Dreamer. I'm gonna share a little bit about my story, and hopefully you know we can ask some of you about your stories if you guys are willing to open up, so that the allies that are here, and the people that are here that are not aware of how DACA has changed, or how it changed our lives, and how our lives are going through this like whiplash right now, can maybe understand and get a little bit a little glimpse into like what we're going through and what our communities are going through. And I also just want to say thank you so much for these brave Dreamers here, that are also here that are just like some kick-ass like humans. I had lunch with them and I'm just like in love with them now. So I came to America when I was six years old with my family from Mexico City. And you know coming to America was a different experience, my parents, like all of our parents that of immigrants of dreamers, all of our parents knew that you know they wanted to give us a better life. They you know they wanted us to be those children of promise that would you know make their sacrifice worth it. So coming here to America, I grew up and I didn't realize that I wasn't necessarily American. Like I mean I knew my heritage, I knew my culture, I knew that there was something off. But it's the you know the whole like concept of being undocumented didn't really hit me until high school, when I realized that I was undocumented. And I'm one of the older Dreamers so you know like only the older Dreamer so when I was in high school and coming out of high school there was no DACA in place, and during that time it was really heartbreaking. I was working at a pizza out of Pizza Hut with a fake ID, you know like I was 14 and I had a fake ID, not to go out to clubs, but to work. I was you know, I was like terrified at the thought of "hey, I'm about to leave college and I mean I'm about to leave high school and I'm not going to be able to go to college. I am not going to be able to go to college because my parents don't have money to send me to college, and there's no financial aid for people like me, and there's no scholarships for people like me." So that was the time that was very devastating, I have two sisters who were also going through that same depression and they actually attempted to commit suicide because of the stress of being undocumented in this country. I took the initiative to say I'm going to you know like, I know that this is hard and I would keep journals where I would write" I'm going to come out of this, I know that I'm made for a purpose." During that time I felt like I was not seen like I had to live in the shadows, like I was invisible, like many of us have felt. And I knew that it was my job to be a leader for my family, and I decided that I would learn as much as I could. After I wasn't working, after I worked my labor jobs, I would you know teach myself how to make videos on YouTube, read everything that I found articles about media, like just reading all the time and just telling stories, and imagining in my mind all the time all the things that I wanted to be. When DACA came into place it was a life changing transformational time. when DACA came into place it gave so many of us the ability to actually go get a driver's license. You don't understand what it means to have a driver's license when you have been undocumented your whole life, when you can go out with your friends and get a drink without having to pull out some kind of foreign ID or a foreign passport and them asking you like "what is that? like why do you have that?" It's, it's the little things that changed. Being able to get a driver's license and drive, and not have to look in your rear-view mirror and see and be afraid if the police's behind you. Being able to have a social security number, where now instead of having to find a living place through Craigslist, that you know may not be the best place to live, now you can actually get a home in your name. Being able to actually apply for the jobs that you want. I personally took the entrepreneur route because I was already older, and I didn't think that I wanted to go to College. And now I've been blessed to actually be partnered with an advertising agency who believed in my dream, and have been great partners and have helped me become a better entrepreneur. So for me right now, it's important to actually stress the fact that our communities, our Dreamers, are under attack and they are going under they are under extreme stress. They are going through so much right now. And I was telling them earlier during lunch I was like I am so fucking proud of us, because we get up every morning, and we show up to our jobs, and we show up to our schools, and I show up to my office where I pay staff, I'm a job creator, and I show up to be a mother, and I show up to be a daughter, and I show up to speak for us. And I'm so proud of these dreamers who just got back from Washington DC, they were out there fighting the good fight speaking up. We are living in extreme danger right now. For us to share our stories is dangerous, for us to show our faces is dangerous, but we are here because we believe in the dreams that our parents had for us. And we believe that if we continue pushing forward we will win, and if it's not us it's our next generation. It's my son, it's the next generation of Dreamers that are out there, so that's my story. I don't want to cry.

[Appluase]

GS: Samantha's story, and the story of the three dreamers here is why we're here, that is the whole point right. And I wonder if there are any other Dreamers in the audience, or people who are you know in classes with Dreamers. Because it is these personal stories that tell us the truth about the idiocy of opposing this piece of legislation. But I I would also just like to remind us that it is very new in human history that we have had borders. I mean, you know the globe was covered with migratory paths, like lace, for most of human history. It is very new that we have had passports, that we how many if we just think about our own families and where our families came from. I mean my great-grandfather arrived lashed to the mast of a ship on the coast of New Jersey, and you know I can there was no legal barrier, you know it was any anybody who could get here, even after there were boarders. Now we have gone through in the history of, the short history of this young nation, we have gone through enormous periods of racism when it comes to immigration. I mean even even in my life of working say with Cesar Chavez and the the migrant workers here, there were a whole group of Filipino migrant workers who had come here, been brought here only as migrant workers, were unable to bring their wives or families with them, had to have a an old people's home which Cesar Chavez you know managed for them because they were not allowed to have families. Think about the Asian, especially Japanese and Chinese, workers who built the railway the the Transcontinental railway. And built it with their hands, and we're not allowed to ride it back because of the racism. You know this it's an opportunity to think about the newness of any boundaries, about the racist ways in which in ethnically biased ways and gender biased ways to because men were imported as workers, not allowed to women were not allowed to come, so you know that's how the Filipino men ended up isolated. It's it's an opportunity to think about the the idiocy the borders in the first place, and the profoundly racist and self-defeating ways that they have been used in the past, and finally get at least one thing right, all right. The dreamers are the people who are the best American citizens, they have a low rare an infinitesimal rate of arrest like for trafficked, I mean there's so much more law-abiding than the rest of us, you have no idea, and they are so much better educated than the average American. These are the people who epitomize the best that's in this country. So I think we need to figure out of what we can address, each of us has a different political representative and what the position of that man or woman is, and how we can pressure that person. And those are all the electoral ways, all the lobbying ways, all the ways you can talk to your neighbors and generate pressure. I mean we're in a time of maximum citizen activism, don't you think? I've never seen anything like it and we need to direct all of our energies toward getting that the Dreamers secure, absolutely secure. And you know we we need to think what we will do if the guy in the White House who does not deserve to be an American...

[Applause]

He's, he's not even a successful businessman. You know that some the an economic writer in New York figured out that if he had just invested the money he inherited he'd be richer than now. He's a failure as a businessman, he's gone bankrupt many times, he doesn't know fact from fiction because as countless psychiatrists have pointed out he has a narcissistic personality disorder. So you can completely predict that he will slavishly follow any praise and respond with enormous hostility to any criticism. He actually doesn't know fact from fiction. Right, so we need to pressure and lobby everyone around him and I think we also can consider what we might do in the extremely, I think unlikely circumstance, that this doesn't work. I mean, me personally you know I have room in my apartment in New York. Ah no, I mean we you know people can live with our homes or our domain right? We're not letting anybody in to take our guests, I mean we can not let anybody, but yeah I'm just saying I'm not committing this campus but we could not let anybody on campus to take students. I just think we each need to make a personal commitment, and this is it. I mean, no more, no more. I think one

[Applause]

SRH: I think one important thing to mention while we're here is, since we're at a college, is I've been receiving a lot of emails recently recently from Odessa Texas which is a very conservative place in Texas. Where the someone from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce told me that the students in high schools are really afraid right now, and their grades are dropping because many of them are afraid that their parents are going to be deported, that they are going to be deported, or that they may not have the opportunity to actually go to college, or they're thinking that maybe they shouldn't enroll in college. So we're seeing that more and more around the country, with young people who feel that their dreams are at stake right now. And I know that maybe here at the college, I don't know if there's any other Dreamers, I like to call as "doers" because honestly like we're not dreaming, we're out here doing stuff like we are getting shit done. So and I actually like apologize for calling you guys Dreamers because I'm so tired of people like "that dream" or "that dream" or like they have names: Manuel, Cynthia, Melody we just met at lunch y'all, Carolina, I you know we have names. I'm Sam. Hey we're not Dreamers, we're out here doing things and we need to continue inspiring. The you know like I don't know if you guys have friends that are doers, dreamers, you know you know check in on them right now during these times. Inspire them to continue showing up to school, inspired him to continue showing up to life, inspire them to continue hoping and pushing because even if they take something away from us they can't take away our learning, our skills, our motivation. We can't allow that to happen. We have to keep pushing forward, and we will continue blooming. So you know, I don't know what the exact number of dreamers that you guys have enrolled here in this college is, but you know checking in on them. And if you are in the audience and you've been thinking like "maybe I shouldn't go to school I don't know if I should," like keep going. Keep going, because we are all out here fighting. We are hoping that legislation gets passed soon, but we have to keep showing up to life. You have to keep holding our heads up high, and we have to continue inspiring our fellow brothers and sisters. Not just like from DACA you know, other immigrants are going through with to TPS you know Salvadorans are so much more than MS-13, I just have to say that here today. They are so much more than that, to make sure that you know we are checking in on them, and now we're telling them to keep showing up. My message is that we keep showing up, we show up with our heads high and now we keep building ourselves, because nobody can bring us down if we build ourselves up. 

GS: And for, I have to say that for all discriminated against minorities over time, or any discriminating against group, education has always been the single most important and portable thing, right? Nobody can take your knowledge away from you, right? So we have to get that message across.

[Applause]

SRH: I don't know if anybody has any questions, or if you guys want to say anything that you feel is important to be said right now? 

Audience: Our Haitian community has also been under attack by our president, you know he said their country basically was a shithole, and I don't think he's ever been there and knows anything about it. I was wondering do you partner with other immigrant groups in your activism?

SRH: Yes, definitely. We're always out there with with different groups immigrant fight is for every immigrant. 

Audience: That was my question, thank you.

GS: Or answers, we can use answers to.

Audience: So he, the administration's, making it you know contingent on the wall being funded, which we don't want either, you know when it's like none of it, so I don't know, maybe just... 

GS: He thinks you can build a wall know across the Grand Canyon, excuse me? 

Audience: It's like, to make a contingent on funding a wall, for DACA I mean... 

GS: well here's my plan, I'm not saying you have to do this okay, I say we say okay you know just you know safeguard oh all the Dreamers, build your wall, and then when we pay our income tax we deduct from our income tax the exact sum that would go to the wall and say "come get us," okay? 

Audience: Build a wall around him and keep him in there... 

GS: No, it's not impractical, you know we used to do that during the Vietnam era. We would deduct from our income tax the 10% that went to pay for Vietnam and say "come get t.i" We never got arrested, you know it was a way of voting. You know we can there there are lots of things we can do. 

Audience: Hi, so my name is Alexandra I'm from Canada someone a student visa here, and I was wondering what are some things that I can do here? Because I I'm lucky, I do have paperwork, and I do have a visa, but I was here when he was elected and I couldn't do anything. I can't vote, I can't, and like what can I do beyond, like and what can I share to my Canadian friends, you know? What what can we help you know what can we do beyond sharing Facebook posts, you know? I think that's super important, because I have so many friends that ask like" what what can you do?" so it's something that I would be really curious on, what I can help? 

GS: Well, you can make clear how shameful it is that you have a neighbor that's behaving like this when the immigration policy in Canada and the ratio of immigrants per citizen is much greater in Canada than it is here. And you know by just talking about the policies in Canada you can, you can be helpful and you know, by your voice by your contributions that's you know that's very helpful. And you know this was also true in the Vietnam era that we were in cahoots then, so we can be in cahoots again. Do you have any other suggestions? 

SRH: I think you wanted to answer that? 

Melody: Hi everyone, my name is Melody and I'm an organizer here. I'm an undocumented immigrant, and I've had DACA since 2015. And I lead the largest network of undocumented students, workers and allies in California. It's called the California true Network. So we've been fighting for equality since 2003. So I believe you are in a special, your special page right now because you can't vote, right, can't necessarily do that. However in this year is election year, so all our attention needs to be committed to the different seats that are here in California. So in California there are seven vulnerable seats, there Republican districts but they actually went to Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, so they're very vulnerable. So we're very focused on them, and just right here in Bakersfield we have representative Kevin McCarthy, who is the House Majority Leader that's a lot of power to tell government what to do and what to bring up to a vote. And so you can definitely get in touch with us, we've been unified at the time to defend DACA, enough that we have a statewide caravan where we've knocked on these different Republican offices. None of them opened their doors to us. Actually you know, in reality overlaps, right? We've been knocking on their doors for years, and they have never open their doors their doors to us. And so for us to make just like a change, we need people like you, like yourself, who can stand up for us. So you would be considered an ally, so I know you have limitations because you can't really speak to the undocumented experience, but you have so much power that you can bring to the table. We really need everyone's support, like this is not a brown issue, this is so many different communities have DACA. The largest, the second largest group to have DACA is from South Korea, the third largest group is from the Philippines. A lot of organizations also are taking up the fight on TPS, you know there are ten countries who have TPS we heard from Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador who are being affected. We can definitely connect you with other organizations or specifically focus on TPS. So it really definitely, it's just about you bringing yourself out at this moment right, where there's an election happening and speaking up for other voices, for us. Because I'm honestly really tired of having to explain my humanity, constantly having to explain that I'm a human being, and I think if everyone really just, this is not just any event, right. This isn't just a one time thing and I feel good by showing up. It actually needs to be a constant fight. I've been showing up since the administration took place almost 380 days now, and so it's not just a one-time thing, and we still have three years in front of us. So I think it's just about us making the commitment to focus on civic engagement, and to also really say I'm gonna say something, I'm going to liberate someone else because I have freedom myself. 

[Applause] 

GS: Okay, would you not want her as a citizen? Right? 

Carolina: Hi everyone welcome to LACC. My name is Carolina, I'm a counselor here at City. I'm a former Dreamer, so I'm very very proud of our school for doing this, and putting on this event, and for all of you showing up. I see some of my students in the audience, it's really exciting that you're here and that your school is showing this commitment. I also want to echo Samantha's message about students, especially if you're here at LACC continue showing up to school. I remember, this was probably like ten years ago I want to say, when I was undocumented and just like she shared I'm a little bit of an older undocumented student, right. We didn't have the DREAM Act, right, we didn't have DACA at that time so it was very uncertain what was gonna happen after we graduated, right. And at the time I was attending a community college, or after I graduated from UCLA, and my future was uncertain. I was working multiple jobs as a barista, I did so many things, and somebody somebody who was a mentor to me spoke to me and told me "okay, but have you ever thought about what you're gonna do after you got your papers? What are you gonna do after that? Start, you have to start now." And that gave me the continued motivation to keep going, right, and that gave me the experience for after I got my paperwork to get a master's degree, to get a job at a community college, which was what I wanted to do to pave the way for other undocumented students. And luckily that's what I get to do today, but that's my message, and that I want to echo from Samantha as well is continue your fight. Continue showing up, I know right now it's not easy, I know, I see students all the time and we go through like a rollercoaster, right. We talk about how are you doing today, okay but how was it yesterday, and how was new years, and it's so difficult because their lives are in the news every day, right. It's, imagine being politicized like that, right? Really it's like you're a bargaining chip, right, so seeing that and how you know, I think about my students, right, I think about all of you, and I just want to really relay that message. That just like there was hope for us, right, to continue, right, for those of us who didn't have DACA back then, right, we really you know, AB 540 was all we had. Right, in-state tuition, and we were so thankful. Right, now we have to continue to fight, right, for what we already received. Which by the way DACA was a student-led effort, so I just want to put that out there, because that's the power you as students have, right. I know UCLA ideas, really, really strong organization, and their nonprofit, right. So support your nonprofits if you have the opportunity to do so, and I also want to you know relay that message as well to support your colleagues, support each other, right. This is a difficult time for so many different people, right, not just and we we do this effort all of us together, right, we we're not in an Olympics of oppression, right. I remember reading that in graduate school, and I can't believe we get to implement that today, right. We have, we have to do that. So I just wanna, I just want to let you all know that we're here for you. Your school's here for you. Clearly there's nonprofit organizations that are here like CHIRLA, I don't know if Melody mentioned, but they're active in CHIRLA which is the humane, oh man, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of LA. So and by the way, they're down the street from us, so if you want to get involved I think that's a really great way to do that. We've partnered with them, we've done different events with them, and I hope we can continue to do that because that's how we continue to engage the community. So I just want to thank you all for coming, I don't think this is the end, but I just want to relay my gratefulness, and to Gloria and Samantha for being here. It is so exciting to have these conversations, I think so many people need to hear them and I'm gonna let the mic go now. Thank You. Good afternoon everyone my name is Manuel Jimenez, I am a 20 year old DACA recipient I came here on behalf of CHIRLA, and I myself have been a DACA recipient since 2012. So what I'd like to say is, and focus on what Melody had mentioned earlier, is civic engagement. That that's something that's really important and it's something that we should again really focus on, because again this year - its its 2018 election year we should focus, and educate our faculty and staff, our allies which are US citizens to pretty much vote. Go out there and vote, that's that's I can't emphasize that enough. Voting is gonna change things, with this like what's what's occurring with this nation, the administration that's in control right now is a very toxic administration. And what, what this year the outcome of this year is only going to be determined by our commitment, our effort, and our dedication to changing the foundation of this nation is currently under control of. And well on top of that I just like to thank everyone who's here, and thank Gloria again, Samantha, Carolina, and Melody for having like and having me speak to you to you all, and that's pretty much it thank you.

[Applause] 

SRH: Does anyone have any other questions?

GS: Or answers, or organizing announcements? 

Audience: My question is for Sam as well as the representatives LACC over there. As far as I guess becoming what you all became today, you know. What was it that helped y'all maintain that persistence, that helped y'all overcome the doubt, the fear, you know? That's the question. 

SRH: For me it was having something tell me that I couldn't become everything that I wanted to become. Having that opposition, to me was like it was a challenge, but I was like "try me," you know? It was just something deep inside of me that was burning, saying "I want to become the best me, and I'm not gonna let anything stop me." And it was so difficult at times, so, so difficult. And there was so many times, and there will be times that try you. But for me it was like, I had like, we all have our coping mechanisms. Mine are stupid sometimes, I went and got a tattoo that said "fuck fear." And it was like when I had nobody to tell me to keep going, or when my parents were afraid and they were telling me "don't do this, don't do that." Like you're going out there, why are you moving here, why are you doing this, I have to look in the mirror and see this tattoo that said "fuck fear." So I mean, I'm not saying I should do that, but that's what helped me. 

Carolina: Thank you, for that. That's a great question, and I think it made me really reflect on what was it that kept me going, right. Like Samantha said it's, I can't say it was all pretty at all, like this is the outcome, right, I have the outcome right now, but it was such a process. And I'm a counselor, so I'm gonna brag about counseling. Counselors you know really were the ones that guided me, my mentors, which some of them are here today, and I'm so happy. They guided me, you know and I sought out, and I have to say one of the things that I noticed with a lot of our students is help-seeking mechanisms, right. So a lot of times we don't seek help ,right, when we need it. So work on those help-seeking mechanisms, because sometimes we need it. Sometimes we need some something outside of us to to say "hey you might need to do this right." And for me it was that, that person that told me "what are you gonna do after?" That was like, what? I was so caught up, in "this is what I am," I had become that, and I became so powerless, right. And when that person told me "oh, well next page, what about after?" Oh that liberated me, and said well it's in my hands. That the power is back with me, and when the election happened I had to invoke that same perspective. I was like "well, I'm not gonna give my power away, right?" I've been working with them documented students for years, and now suddenly they're targeted, right. So I'm not, we're not gonna give our power away. So I've talked to a lot of students and said "well we have momentum, right?" before people didn't know what DACA was, now everybody knows what DACA is. So we have momentum, what are we gonna do with it So that we can reframe it, and think of that as a motivation to continue. Look at all the people that are standing up with us, right. So, I tend to see the glass half full, and sometimes people like counselors, or others have to help me see it. So seek help, right, that would be one of my one of my suggestions. And don't forget to you know, really reflect, take time. And self-care, that's really important too. Meaning, take care of yourself, and your own coping mechanisms, right. Is it yoga, is it whatever it is, to get you grounded again and to help you see. You know, ground you back from feeling powerless. 

Audience: Thank you for being here. I actually am a graduate student at USC, and I just really love that you're both here, and like we have people that can speak on behalf of what's going on. I'm actually a counselor in training, and I work with students like, middle school students and high school students that you mentioned, that are dropping out, and are in fear of like, what's gonna happen to their parents who are undocumented. And we brought that up in class one day and we were stuck. And we we try to look up things, like how can we talk about it, because as adults in school or at work I think we can use like self-help. Like we know how to take care of ourselves, but with younger kids I guess my question is how can we like reinstitute that sense of hope for them, you know? I guess it's a big loaded question but, I'd like to know any tips or how we can help them you know I guess live their lives, and not live always in fear of what's gonna happen to their parents. 

Carolina: So one thing that I learned actually in graduate school, is that your body can only take so much anxiety. So at one point, it cannot stand, like your body at one point it's gonna not withstand it. So that's what I would tell myself in those moments, of when I'm like in you know maybe in a little bit of a crisis and I think yeah how are younger students dealing with that. That's a really, really good question. I mostly work with college students, but relaying that hope. I think it goes a little bit to what I was speaking to just now, is when I speak with my students I'm very real. So I I tell them "look, not every day you're gonna feel hopeful." So it's okay that sometimes you're not gonna feel super hopeful, you know. But the bottom line is do you have some, or you know do you have one or two people, that you go to. Is it your parents, is it your teacher, is it who do you go to in those moments when you really feel like you can't do it on your own. And I think this probably goes to say that we need to teach students better self care strategies. That's something I've learned, being undocumented you deal with, you juggled so much, you do like three jobs and it's normal. Everybody just does it, I feel like, right. And then you become really good at doing it, and then you're like oh I'm on, I'm in survival mode like the whole time and I don't understand what my limitations are. so I think teaching that and and maybe implementing that in the classroom, like in in the pedagogy of how we teach. Of taking a minute, learning to take a deep breath, you know, those are important things. And yes, I think that sometimes that's a privilege to be able to do that, because not everybody can afford that. But it is something that as educators, you know as someone who's a counselor in training, is maybe in our counseling courses we can learn to teach. You know, I don't know.

Melody: So I just graduated from USC also as a graduate student, so that's pretty cool. I just graduated last year, so going off of that, and going through my experience and my helped me and going off what Carolina was saying. We actually offer workshops on you, know like the next step after self-care, called know your rights. So how are they able to how are, whatever age you're at, how are you able to defend your communities, and how do you prepare for this divisive administration, and for a possible deportation, or for possible raid. So we actually created so many workshops that we've been using actually since 2001 when the DREAM Act was first, so that again another thing I want to reiterate is that the DREAM Act, so for those of you who don't know DREAM Act, the DREAM Act right now is a legislation that would replace DACA. So another thing that we have to say is that DACA is dead, right? I know that there was some Francisco injunction a few weeks ago that said that some folks are able to still renew, and file for the DACA which by the way a lot of organizations are covering full costs. The 495 dollar fee, and the lawyer fees. So our organization is covering the the full cost, we've done almost 800 DACA renewals. Well just since September. So we've actually done ten thousand since 2012, so I think also letting them know that there are resources out there. So basically our workshops are based off that hard work, and we would love to share that workshops with y'all or any other counselors out there, or teachers that have a classroom. We come and do the trainings for you, so the students will definitely or whether you have another just group. We teach you how to first of all, we break you down. We really understand, unraveling the undocumented identity so we actually make you feel very bad at first, and that is because we want you to leave that pain, and shed all that was imposed on us, and how the word undocumented was imposed on us. So we do that first, so it's very very emotional workshops. And then once you do that then you're prepared to take in how to define your community, so we'll definitely look and those workshops were created at the time where undocumented students and immigrants where undocumented and very afraid. Right now we talk about undocumented and unafraid, there was a time where it was undocumented and nothing, right. Like just undocumented and silenced, and we've come such a long way. I want to emphasize that too, that we're really, really, really lucky here in California to have such inclusive laws. And I know some of us from other states cannot relate, and I think we need to check that privilege as well, and to also remember that a lot of DACA recipients or just immigrants in general do not necessarily go on to higher education. So a lot of people just go straight into work, and I think it's really, really important to acknowledge all of these differences and all of our communities as well. So I love to share that over with anyone, if you want to come up to us afterwards we actually do the workshops for free. We do know your rights, we do raids rapid response, we do civic engagement, we do everything. You just ask us, and then we can help you activate. And I mean and I'm using the platform here that I have as the organization from Los Angeles, because I want to open up that door. A lot of people don't know that, and the best tool that we have right now is to educate ourselves. So I want to open that up to everyone.

[Applause] 

Audience: You were there for kind of the beginning of the women's revolution in the 70's, and how does that time compared to now with the movement for DACA and immigrant rights?

GS: well I think ,you know it's different for everybody, I don't want to answer for everybody. But I think the beginning was distinguished by saying "wait a minute, I'm not crazy, the system is crazy." I mean, which is a huge gift you know, because up to that time women had been made to feel, diverse women in all kinds of ways, had been made to feel literally crazy if we weren't content with second-class status and derived identity. If it was even wrong that we were outside the home working at all, I see heads nodding. It so it was it was in the beginning, that kind of excitement and discovery. It was clearly a particular group or a big group, it's still kind of who were making this discovery, so there were all kinds of suppositions you know. That if you were a feminist it meant you were a lesbian because you could not possibly be having a relationship, how many people remember this. You could not possibly, you know have an equal, I mean you know there were just all kinds of myths which are gone. And now what's the big difference is that we are the majority, we're no longer this peculiar subset of people over here who were saying you know that I mean you know. For black women, for instance who had been a huge part of the civil rights movement, and weren't acknowledged with inside the civil rights movement. And still are not acknowledged properly inside the civil rights movement, or the women's movement, even though black women especially have always been as a way disproportionately feminists. In white women, look at the last election you know. So but I think the main difference now is that we, we are not this small group over here. We're no longer meeting in each other's living rooms you know, we're here in an auditorium, right. It's now a majority movement, and a majority change in consciousness. That's huge.

[Applause] 

Audience: So now we're seeing all these movements, and you've mentioned that you're seeing a lot more civic activity, and a lot of participation from various groups. How can we start merging, merging some of these groups, and work to work together? So for example you had an incredible turnout for the Women's March, so how can we start really working together, and having some of that support from for example people that participate in that women's March and vice and likewise with other other active groups?

GS: Well the women's March has continued as you see you see online. And actually the marches the this year we're bigger than the marches last year, I mean actually grew. And there is a whole local subset of marches ,so there's the national you know group that started, and then in every state. So you know it really it it is if you you know you can find it online, whether it's you know identified with the march or with any of the issues you you care about. It's really present, but I think it's up to us to look at the people around us every day and not think that it's something far away. And so the most effective movement, is the movement which says is in the immortal words of Flo Kennedy, do you remember Flo Kennedy? Florence Kennedy was, anyway she used to say "I'm for anything that's off its ass." You know, so it's it's when you you get up in the morning, and you don't say you don't say what should I do, you're not looking for instructions for somebody else, you're saying "what am I gonna do today?" You know that's "what can I do?" because you know uniquely things that I don't know right, and you have people who trust you and nothing replaces trust. Nothing on earth replaces trust. Who will listen to you about voting, or about you know the status of Dreamers, or you know who are your neighbors and your friends? And it's looking to see every day. And back to the the other question about the children, and you know people who are students and so on, traveling I think the little kids have, there's little kids feel that there's something wrong with their parents right. There's something wrong with their families, so we have contact of any kind if we can just say your parents are good people, they're heroes, they're fighting for what America stands for. If we can somehow allow the kids to know that, that this is a point of pride. That there's nothing wrong with their families, on the contrary there's something very right with their families. 

[Applause]

Audience: Hi, thank you for what you're doing, and for all of your courage. I actually just wanted to offer an idea based off of your question on how to help children feel hope, and I completely agree giving them information is super powerful. But I've also found working with kids, whether it's I work in the inner city, I've also worked in refugee encampments, and when people are experiencing trauma it's very hard like you said to to let go and to experience joy. But there are a few things that really work very well, one is music, one is dance, and the other is play, which arguably you could call it the umbrella for all of that. And even when you don't have a lot of resources you know, even just having like a drum circle, even if we're just going like this and creating a beat together and having people dance inside of it. It's so cathartic, and it's so transformative and it really helps people let go of the negative energy. And I've seen it help people come back alive, same goes for dance. And then also part of the power of that as well is that when you have kids say in a classroom, some of them are Dreamers, some of there aren't. We're different races. When we're experiencing play, when we're dancing together, when we're making music together, we are experiencing shared humanity together which is so important. And I think that it's a vital piece of of people standing up for each other. Because we're able to see each other in this really natural fundamental way, but I just wanted to bring that up as a as a method that I hope will work for you.

[Applause] 

Carol Kozeracki: Hi there my name is Carol Kozeracki, I work here at the college. I did want to let people know that on Tuesday, March 27th, some of our faculty from Poli-Sci and from Law are working with League of Women Voters to put on civic engagement events. So this is going to be taking the you know, the entire structure of it is is still being resolved, but what they're going to be doing is probably having a couple of speakers and some of the issues might be things like homelessness, issues related to immigration, and activism. And then part of the day is going to be having community organizations come in that have either internship, or volunteer opportunities for students in these types of important areas. So as we get more information out, if you're a faculty member please encourage your students to come give them a little extra credit. Students, we hope you will take advantage, and I know that there are so many people here either from these organizations or that have connections to these types of organizations. so if you kind of could let myself, Alen Andriassian and any of our senior staff know about that we would invite them to be part of this. And again with the idea of letting them know that there are opportunities for students to become engaged, and make a difference on these kinds of really important issues. So March 27th, don't forget, thanks. 

Carol Winger: I'm Carol Winger and I work at the foundation here, and a couple of months ago one of our students came ,well she was a former student, she works here now. And she came and she said I want to start a book award for DACA students here, and so she made and she did it in honor of her parents, and she made this five hundred dollar gift. And she said I you know we worked together on a flyer and she said "I'm gonna take this flyer everywhere and I'm gonna try to raise money for this book award," and so I said "go to your church, go to your friends, you know go out,", you know we talked about all these different places she could go. And she called me a couple weeks ago, and she said "so how's my fund doing?" and I said "well, we really only received 35 dollars from a friend, and then we have your gift. Do you want us to allocate that money, or award that money to a student, or do you want to keep building it up?" and she said "well, give me a week and I'll keep trying to build it up." And so she called me again a week later, and she said "well, you know, I went to, all the people I know don't have any money to donate to the book fund I set up. And they're, you know they're miserable, they're unhappy, and they have all their challenges, and whatnot." So what I mean, I can tell I mean, how does she go out and market her book award being part of DACA and going out into the community to try to raise money to bring this the book award? 

GS: The book award means she's buying books? 

Carol Winger: It means that for students who can't afford their books they can apply for her book award and possibly get awarded money to purchase their books to study. 

GS: Well we can all contribute something in this room, right? To that right, I'll contribute, but you have to tell us how though. 

Carol Winger: Oh you just contact me. 

GS: Okay, but you have you have to tell us how.

Carol Winger: so you called the foundation and you ask for Carol Winger LACC has its own foundation, so the purpose of the foundation not only is to raise money for the college but we do all sorts of outreach and partnerships with different organizations many of whom are you know, serving the underserved, if you will. And many of them are DACA and and so we and we try to sort of infiltrate every area in LA and beyond, to try to talk up the importance of education and growth, and getting a job, and being a regular part of society and you know, so we do a lot more than fund raise but that's our ultimate purpose. And so there's a foundation it's on campus here and it's in the Student Union Building and if you know anyone that's interested. 

GS: okay it's a book fund I wonder, I mean textbooks are very expensive, oddly expensive, right? So I wonder if we couldn't shame the textbook companies into giving a percentage of books to Dreamers? [Applause] So we just need somebody to call and write every textbook company, and get that to give you know a few hundred books. 

Carol Winger: I had that idea at one point and I really didn't get anywhere. But I didn't spend a lot of time on that. 

GS: did you try the textbook companies? 

Carol Winger: Contacting publishing companies, and yeah absolutely. 

GS: All right well let's write a mutual letter, maybe we can get something going. 

[Applause]

Melody: I have a question, for you actually a follow-up question to the book award question. I didn't catch your name, uh Carol, did you have undocumented students share how this award would help them? Like actual testing, yeah I think that's another huge step, I know here at LACC we have ideas, we have the club here exclusively, well open to undocumented students and people who are affected by this administration. So actually having them share how this award would help them, I think I mean you because then whoever is donating money will see the value in them, right. Will understand. We understand that but the stories can really help whoever you're asking for money to understand "oh this is gonna affect Mannie, right. This is gonna help Mannie afford his books for biology because he wants to be a doctor." So I think just incorporating that human side, even for us, has been very very helpful. And you know you can work it with the students to see who is comfortable sharing their stories, and what part of their stories they want to share. We also want to be conscious of folk's you know comfort level but I think that'll be very very helpful. 

GS: Does the foundation have a website? Alright put it on the website, so people know that. Put the stories on the website, and the need for books on the website, and people it's you know, it's a way that people can respond, right.

Audience: We'll report on it in our school newspaper.

[Applause]

GS: We've run out of time, like everybody is saying here. Alright, I just have one last instruction which I can never resist. It's just "do you know each other?" just before you leave look around and see two or three people you don't know. Introduce yourselves, say what you care about, what you're doing. You know you'll leave here with a new friend, a new subversive colleague, something. Okay, thank you, thank you. 

[Applause]

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