In observation of The National Educator’s Coming Out Day, April 9, which calls on educators across the nation to publicly support and work alongside undocumented students, Scholarships A-Z held a press conference at Catalina Magnet High School.
“At Scholarships A-Z… students, educators, parents and committee members believe everyone should be able to receive their educational goals whether documented or undocumented,” said Jessica Garcia, a student and representative of the organization.
At the press conference, school districts and organizations publicly committed to helping all students. Representatives from Sunnyside School District, Tucson Unified School District and the Arizona Hispanic School Administration Association in Tucson attended and were joined by local teachers and students.
The Scholarships A-Z organization, affiliated with United We Dream, works closely with undocumented students and tries to secure the same education for them that is afforded to documented students.
Tucson Unified School District was the first school district in the US to publicly affirm the belief that all students must be treated equally even if they are undocumented, according to a Scholarships A-Z press release.
The organization has many undocumented affiliated students. They help other undocumented students get enrolled in higher education by connecting them with the necessary resources like academic advisers at universities or helping them find scholarship money.
At the press conference, representatives from organizations and school districts spoke and answered questions concerning the education of undocumented students.
“We have a commitment to every young person who enters the doors of our schools,” said Jim Fish, executive director for student equity and intervention at TUSD. “We as educators are obligated to ensure that they receive the education that they need in order to make this great land what it is.”
Sunnyside Superintendent Manuel Isquierdo said he believes the event brought much-needed attention to the plight of undocumented students and their educational needs. TUSD and other school districts in Tucson are heading in the right direction in devoting the appropriate response to this issue, he said.
“Right now Pima County is saying, ‘We are immigrant-friendly, we are going to support our students,’” Isquierdo said.
“This is a very important day. Resolutions are easy, but action is harder,” Isquierdo said. “I think it is up to all of us to put some of the undocumented students’ thoughts into action.”