WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thursday, Nov. 12, marked the third annual “National Educators Coming Out” Day, a project of the United We Dream Network’s (UWD) Dream Educational Empowerment Program, to create a national network of educators committed to support and work alongside undocumented students.
More than 1,600 individuals have made the pledge as of this morning, a 65 percent increase in pledges over last year. Those making the pledge shared selfies with their pledge, which took over social media on Thursday, educating and inspiring many more. To see pictures from the day, click here.
Across the country, educators face barriers to providing high quality education to their undocumented students. United We Dream and our allies are committed to bringing those barriers down and building a culture of support on campuses for those who support undocumented students.
National Educators Coming Out Day is part of United We Dream’s effort to make concrete changes in the field of education to support students. It precedes our annual National Institutions Coming Out Day where last May 80 campuses changed policies to better support students.
Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Education released a resource guide for educators with materials from UWD, this week Mary Kathryn Ricker, the executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, released an English and Spanish language op-ed encouraging support undocumented students and the day was featured on Univision. Additionally, the day would not have been possible without countless allies across the country, some of whom are listed below.
Laura Bohorquez, United We Dream’s Dream Educational Empowerment Program Coordinator issued the following statement,
“For undocumented students, coming out as undocumented and unafraid means many things. It could mean the growth of a support system or further discrimination and violence. Now United We Dream has been asking educators to come out in support of immigrant youth, and the responses we’ve seen from across the country are overwhelming.
“We’ve seen the difference a support system can have on a student, when they feel that can go to their teachers for guidance on navigating a difficult educational system. And this is what today is all about. It’s a day to celebrate all the educators and administrators who already support their undocumented students and to encourage others to join us, sign the pledge, take a picture and make their support public.”
Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics said, “We encourage all educators to come out in support on this day, and continue these efforts of helping catapult our undocumented youth into the world of opportunities that would benefit from their talents.”
Anayeli Marcos, an undocumented student at the University of Texas at Austin said, “I want to give a shoutout to my former High School Counselor Fabiola Paz, who encouraged me to apply to many different schools. I found the right place at UT Austin and I couldn’t be happier with the people that have helped me throughout my life. I am an undocumented and unafraid college senior who is debt free.”
Montserrat Garibay, a former pre-kindergarten teacher and now vice-president of Education Austin, also said, “As educators it is our moral and ethical responsibility to advocate and support our students to feel safe, so they can reach their goals. Dreamers across the nation are changing the lives of our communities with their courage and persistence.”
Special thanks to our many partners across the country who share our commitment to providing a high quality education to all students, regardless of immigration status! See here for a partial list of allies who made this day a huge success:
American Federation of Teachers
Connecticut Students for a Dream
Educators for Fair Consideration
George Mason Dreamers
Georgetown Hoyas for Immigrant Rights
Ignation Solidarity Network
National Education Association
Northern Colorado Dreamers United (CO)
Student Immigrant Movement (MA)
UCLA Labor Center
University Leadership Initiative (TX)
University of New Mexico Dream Team (NM)
Washington Dream Coalition (WA)
Youth Empowerment Alliance (TX)